I’m going to be honest; I had no idea what “Gimme Shelter” was about before walking into the theater. Before the screening started, a representative from the film’s distribution company came in to thank all attendees for making it, and for taking a stand against abortion. Yup; I had unknowingly just walked into a pro-life propaganda flick, one that I was apparently encouraged to talk about with my local pastor, and share on social media. Sorry to disappoint all you anti-abortion people out there, but I’m as pro-choice as they come, and “Gimme Shelter” didn’t sit too well with me.
Agnes “Apple” Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens) has had a rough life. Her mom (Rosario Dawson) is a heavy drinker/drug abuser, as well as a nightmare to be around. After Apple has had enough, she runs away from home, hoping to stay with her biological father, Tom (Brendan Fraser), until she can get back on her feet. It’s not long before it’s revealed that Apple, who’s only sixteen, is in fact pregnant, something that doesn’t sit too well with Tom’s wife, Joanna (Stephanie Szostak). The movie then turns into a lesson about why abortions are bad, and why it’s good to force a sixteen-year-old to take care of a baby when she’s clearly not fit for it.
I don’t want to come off as insensitive, and I know that I’m supposed to judge the movie by its merits instead of what political or religious stance it takes, but things get a bit too ridiculous. The film is based on a “true story”, but I can’t help but feel that events have been greatly distorted to make pro-choice people look like the devil. One example is a scene where Joanna drives Apple to the hospital for a check up, and then straight-up ditches her there so she can walk back home under the rain. Who the fuck does that? If that wasn’t enough, Apple’s mom is not only into booze and drugs, but apparently would do anything to get Apple and the baby back so she can get more welfare. Ah, you right-wingers are going all-out with this flick aren’t you?
The acting is all over the place, with the best two performances coming courtesy of the legendary James Earl Jones, who plays Father McCarthy, and Brendan Fraser, who plays Apple’s birth dad. They bring some gravitas and credibility to what essentially feels like an afternoon TV-movie. Vanessa Hudgens is passable in the lead, but unless she’s brooding or crying, every word that comes out of her mouth is pure agony. The writing definitely has a lot to do with that, but she’s also just not all that convincing. I thought Rosario Dawson was too over-the-top as her mom, and she had some really unconvincing yellow teeth to, you know, make her look more evil. The flick was written and directed by Ron Krauss, so I honestly blame him for this cheesy, skewed, and heavy-handed mess.
If you’re so pro-life that it even clouds your judgment when it comes to movies, then go ahead and watch “Gimme Shelter.” If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking “Gemme Outta Here.”
Numerical Score: 3/10
Originally Published on A Geek's Blog
Follow Anthony on Twitter