Sunday, October 5, 2014

Movie Review: Gimme Shelter

Title: Gimme Shelter
Genre: family, drama, true story
My Rating: *****
Official Rating: PG-13 (mature thematic material involving mistreatment, some drug content, violence and language--all concerning teens)
Age Group: 16+

Summary: Apple Bailey has no home and no family. Yes, her mother is still alive and would like her to live with her. Yes, her father is alive and is willing to let her live with him and his wife and two kids (as long as she makes some changes in life). But Apple doesn't really have a home.
Neither does her unborn baby. All Apple knows is she can't abandon her baby like she was abandoned.
As sixteen-year-old Apple flees an abusive home and two people who demand she abort her unborn child, she thinks she is alone. And she is alone--until she allows someone to make her not alone.
Encountering a shelter for young women who want to have their babies, Apple finally finds a home. Still, she faces many challenges on her way there, at the home itself, and after. This is the story of Apple, her baby, and the love she finds when she comes home.

Word of Warning
  • The movie begins with a fight scene in which one woman (a mother) is thrown against a wall. Her daughter flees to a cab and the mother follows, banging on the window and shouting, "You owe me!"
  • The main character has various piercings on her face.
  • A character tries to steal a cab because the driver tells her to get out after he discovers she doesn't have money. He pulls her from the driver's seat, throws her to the ground, and kicks her.
  • A girl more or less breaks into a yard. She is caught by the police and subdued after a brief struggle.
  • A man hands money to his daughter when she asks for a place to stay, clearly intending she leave and he support her from afar.
  • The main character's mother is abusive and has done drugs in the past. Her teeth are yellow and she often has bruises on her face. The father of the main character abandoned the mother (they were not married) and child before the child was even born.
  • A girl has been in the foster care system and has nothing good to stay about it. She says she was taken to a mental hospital because she "didn't fit in." She claims in one house the husband came into her room and "started touching me and feeling all up on me."
  • As stated in the summary, the girl is sixteen and running away from home.
  • We see a girl drink a raw egg. Later, she pukes (the two may or may not be related).
  • Apple says she didn't know she was pregnant, she "only did it once."
  • The wife of the father (Tom) tells Apple she and her husband will not have Apple's baby in their house. She then wants to know if the child's father is in jail.
  • Wife and husband are heard shouting in the background.
  • We see Apple sitting on a toilet (upper bare legs are shown). The camera moves to her face as she places a pregnancy test between her legs.
  • Bare stomach is shown during an ultrasound. This is seen at least twice as the baby grows.
  • The wife leaves Apple behind after bringing her to the doctor.
  • Apple passes out.
  • Tom says Apple is not ready to assume responsibility of motherhood and tells her to "turn the page on this" and she'll forget it ever happened. He doesn't use the word "abortion" but that's what he's telling her to do. It's implied that he will not let his daughter stay at his house unless she aborts the baby.
  • Wife makes an appointment for an abortion against the will of Apple. We seen a room in the clinic (bed, tools on a table, etc). Apple removes her shoe as she begins to undress. She never gets any farther.
  • Apple decides to live on the street. She gets into an unlocked car, eats what she finds, drinks the water, and borrows a blanket. Later, she digs through a garbage bag for food and eats what she finds.
  • A man threateningly orders a girl to get into his car. She steals it and almost crashes it. Later, she is t-boned by a truck and the car swerves off the road and hits a fence. She wakes up in a hospital, cuffed to a bed, bloody and bruised
  • Words: a**, h***, "Oh my God"
  • The girl screams "God don't care about me. Don't waste your time!" and later demands "Where was God when I was getting abused and suffering all these years?"
  • Apple shouts at the hospital chaplain to leave her alone.
  • The mother tries to manipulate Apple into coming back to her. She tells the social worker things are fine at home. She shouts at her daughter and slaps her a few times and accuses the girl of being just like her mother because she wants to keep the baby. She reveals she will let Apple keep the baby because she wants the money the government will send them. She blames her daughter for her life since she gave birth to her. She gives a rather convincing story about being sorry, she messed up, she still loves her daughter. This is shown to be a lie.
  • The mother is very scary looking.
  • Girls break into different rooms in a shelter/house and go through stuff they're not supposed to.
  • As the girls are reading their files, one reads off that she was a prostitute. The others joke about this a bit but in a comforting "we're here for you" kind of way.
  • Daughter tells her mother "I hate you" twice.
  • The girls in the shelter are keeping count of the different "colors" of their babies. One girl declares there will be "Four black babies and four white babies" but that gets the others talking about different shades (caramel, etc). None of this is done in a racist way. It actually sounds rather sweet and innocent.
  • Mother calls her daughter a whore and tries to kill her with a razor she has in her mouth. She cuts the girl's face and blood drips onto her clothes.
  • One girl taunts Apple about her mother and how even though she's really mean, Apple can't help but love her. She continues, bashing the house's rules and voicing her desire to be free of them.
  • We see Apple screaming as she delivers her baby.
  • The father wrote a letter saying he and Apple's mother went out a few times and she just happened unexpectedly. He left her behind because he was off to college and didn't want to disappoint his parents. His reasoning is clear, but he makes it sound like it's ok.
  • The father of Apple's child is never seen or heard from

My Thoughts
What can I say? The first part of the movie starts out feeling very dirty and gritty and even frightening. Then the viewers are offered a slight glimmer of hope, followed by a glimpse of beauty. The beauty continues to grow until it consumes even the dirty and gritty aspects. They still exist, but they have been made into something more.
It was beautiful.