Though God has a plan for each of us, it’s not always easy for us to walk in, because sometimes the road we must travel is wrought with hardship, pain and despair.
For Agnes “Apple” Bailey, God’s plan included hunger, abuse, neglect, homelessness and teen pregnancy.
Part of Apple’s story is recounted in the Roadside Attractions film, “Gimme Shelter.”
In the film, Apple (Vanessa Hudgens), runs away from her abusive, drug-addicted mother (Rosario Dawson). Hoping to start over, she tracks down her stockbroker father (Brendan Fraser), only to find out that, while he’s sympathetic to her plight, he’s moved on.
It’s while at her father’s house that Apple finds out that she’s pregnant, and that’s where the story really begins, as it’s the baby she is carrying who God uses to change her life.
Because of the baby, she meets a compassionate stranger (James Earl Jones), who ultimately leads her to salvation and unprecedented support in a suburban shelter for homeless teenagers. With gained confidence, and the warmth of her new home, Apple breaks from her inhibiting past, embracing the future with clarity and hope.
I enjoyed the movie, but I had some issues with some things.
Though Hudgens' transformation from a girly-girl into a hardcore street kid was believable, sometimes it seemed like she was trying too hard.
Hudgens and Dawson also look pretty gruesome in the film. I’m talking, “Walking Dead” gruesome. I know lots of “cracked out” people and none of them look like Hudgens and Dawson in this movie.
I guess the makeup department went overboard, so that it’d be easier to visually show Hudgens’ transformation from a street urchin into a hopeful teen mom.
The unintentional message, however, is that poor people are dirty.
My other gripe is about the relationships in the move--Some of them just felt hollow to me.
I don’t know if it was poor editing, director Ronald Krauss’ script, all of the above or something else, but I don’t think the movie focused enough on the development of some of Apple’s crucial relationships—from her parents (What did her mom do to make her want to run away? Why does her dad change his mind and decide to be in her life? ) to the shelter owner (Ann Dowd), to the friend with whom she contemplates running away.
Gripes aside, “Gimme Shelter” was a decent movie. I’m glad Apple’s life was brought to the big screen. Because a lot of the portrayals of urban life in the movie are realistic, I hope it gets Christians who don’t know what it’s like to be poor out of their comfort zones. I hope it wakes them up to the fact that some people just need a little help. Though the movie’s message was very pro-life, it wasn’t overbearing. This means that even people in favor of abortion will appreciate the movie for what it is –one woman’s inspiring true-life story.
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