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GO or Pass on "Gimme Shelter"?

Opening January 24, 2014
Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images

Gimme Shelter


A nice attempt to portray a difficult issue… the cast is outstanding: Brendan Fraser, Rosario Dawson, James Earl Jones and who knew…. Vanessa Hudgens in the lead (now on the map for skills beyond High School Musical….). Shelter is defined as protection, refuge, safe haven, and cover-Teens are beyond difficult, Why? Can we offer?

Hollywood Courage in a vast moray of zombies, gratuitous sex, and horror in the typical teen flicks should be more than applauded. GO, don’t set this one out… actions that give monetary rewards to a studio speak louder than any words!

In our venues, viewing was a great start to conversation and debate (it’s amazing whether an inner city teen or surburbia elitist: similar underlying subjects of acceptance vs rejection, parental abuse (living vicariously, abandoned or as a system $$), value, anger, hopelessness, rebellion…. to decisions about sex… Where are they accepted & loved?). The authenticity of the TRUE story was critical in connecting.

It’s also important to note, this movie would NOT have been the teens’ and/or chaperones’ first choice. All were prompted to attend with lead “Alpha” students targeted to create peer pressure.

Gaynor’s song “I will survive” could be the theme song for this journey. A teen who endures abuse, rejection, and impossible complications from decisions. Clear statements about parental drug use, and our broken social system aren’t far behind. Then there is the spiritual….

The traditional faith community wants to emphasize the “sanctity of human life” and abortion issues… Yes, “Gimme Shelter” does engage this issue; but, if emphasized, critical points might be missed. Rather, focusing on the NONgovernment ministry that took place to make this a success story is KEY! From the hospital chaplain to the shelter… STOP protesting and preaching, take action and get involved in helping provide shelter!!

A broad range of resources (movie clips, outlines, …) are provided by the studio, and can be adapted easily for faith consumption. See

Teen “Apple” can be deemed determined, gritty, rebellious, ungrateful, lucky … and/or blessed. What she had to endure was beyond comprehension… yet working with identical situations each day is a life’s work. Without intervention, long term accountability, positive modeling/mentoring, … transformation doesn’t happen. Apple’s monster teen makeover to doting mother is nothing short of miraculous…

For those already engaged in the fight, Gimme Shelter is too neatly tied in a bow. From homelessness to a decorated nursery… misses much of the messiness, and spiritual depth. Despite the break with drug abuser mom, the instant family reconciliation with abandoned dad needed to be flushed out. Perhaps the studio felt the general public wouldn’t or couldn’t embrace the full story…

An homage at the conclusion of the film to the true characters of the story was a great ending. Putting real life faces to these huge issue shows how normal, everyday … the most ordinary of people, once involved, can ignite a movement. What part can you play?

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