"I'm just asking you for a little time."
Vanessa Hudgens' latest film, Gimme Shelter, is based on an inspiring true story in which she plays a pregnant teenager named Apple, who has been abused and felt unwanted all her life. I'm sure the true story is an inspiring one, and I admire Apple's strength to continue fighting despite all the hardships she went through. I also admire those people who took her in and helped her, but just because the real life story is inspiring that doesn't mean I enjoyed this film. The story has several flaws and feels very manipulative. It never felt authentic and I really had a hard time believing Hudgens' performance. An inspirational film should try to be less manipulative and feel more authentic and real, but the characters in this film never felt real. The dialogue in the film wa weak and everything felt rushed in such a way that there was no time to delve into what led to some of the characters changes in behaviors. It seemed like director, Ron Krauss, was rushing the story to its feel good ending without really stopping to analyze the pain and hardships Apple went through. These films are usually hard to make and very few are able to succeed in feeling authentic and this wasn't the exception. I wasn't sold by Hudgens' performance and that also hurt my appreciation for the film. It's a film with good intentions and an inspiring tale, but they failed to transmit it in a compelling way.
Brendan Fraser plays Apple's father who she has never met because he was only 19 years old when he left her mother, June (played by Rosario Dawson) pregnant. June hasn't been a good mother figure for Apple as she spends her time getting high so Apple has been in and out of shelters and foster care all her life. She has been abused several times, so she finally decides to leave her violent mother and find her dad. She finds him and discovers he's a big shot in Wall Street. Stephanie Szostak plays his wife and together they have two young children. They take Apple in, but have trouble coping with the fact she is pregnant. When they try to convince her to have an abortion, Apple is back in the streets again. After an accident, a nice Priest (James Earl Jones) visits her and convinces her to go to a shelter run by a nun named Kathy (Ann Dowd) who specializes in treating pregnant teenagers. This is where Apple finds a loving family for the first time in her life. The performances in this film were all hurt by the weak script. I didn't understand Fraser's character very well either and the story failed to transmit why he and his wife had a change of heart. Ann Dowd plays a very different character here than the one she does in The Leftovers so it was nice to see her in a much friendlier role. Rosario Dawson was convincing as a junky and abusive mother. There is not much more I can say about this film, it wasn't terrible but it wasn't good either.