tumblr_mwmli1N3Q41sm3kl8o1_500Let’s just cut to the chase, the Tiede Family gives Gimme Shelter 4 thumbs up.

Here’s the breakdown …

Caleb (11) ~ This movie really tells you that not everyone lives a life like you. Some people really struggle. There were some parts that were a little hard to watch and I covered my eyes. It was hard to see her fighting with her mom. Even though she had a very hard life, she made some very mature decisions. She doesn’t always get good support from people who should be helping her (her mom, her social worker, her rich father, her step mom, the ultrasound tech), but she makes good choices anyway. She’s really strong. I give Gimme Shelter a thumbs up.

Kadi (18) ~ A weighty, emotionally-charged film filled to the brim with such raw brokenness and authentic intensity. A very honest story, more true to real life than I would have expected. There’s a measure of healing, but it’s not complete. There are mended relationships and yet unresolved situations. Work to be done, but hope. This movie is all about hope. (Thumbs up.)

Mike (Age withheld. Husband, Dad, Child Psychologist) ~ Movies about social issues–homelessness, teen pregnancy, abortion–are often a difficult balance between story, acting, and the handling of such issues.

Gimme Shelter weaves in each of these elements without becoming overly preachy or a social platform for a cause. It tells a story based upon a true life. Its focus on this life and her journey is where it shines in a memorable way. Vanessa Hudgens is a familiar actress to teen and young adult crowds. Let’s face it, our kids have grown up with her as the star, often shining in squeaky clean roles of the High School Musical franchise. In Gimme Shelter, Vanessa gives a memorable and convincing performance. She has an incredible presence in a real and meaningful way.
As a father, I believe this is a movie that middles school and older kids should see.  It is a raw and heartfelt movie, but in a time where there is more focus on the back story that leads someone astray, Gimme Shelter focuses on how a life is mended and those in her life provide a resilience necessary to healing. I think parents will also want to watch this movie, so that they can talk with their kids about Apple and the issues she faces at a very young age.
Gimme Shelter is a memorable movie and a must see. I give this movie a thumbs up.

Vicki (As if … Wife, Mom, Teacher, Speaker, Author)
~ This gripping story tackles several topics with raw honesty. Vanessa Hudgens portrays Agnes (aka Apple), a sixteen year old whose derelict, drug-addicted mother makes life choices that taxi Apple into 10 different foster homes. May I just mention that Hudgens is absolutely unrecognizable. I’m not kidding you. She is gritty and so street hardened, that as a mom and educator, it’s hard to watch. Suffice it to say, the foster care system fails Apple as do many adults in her life. After an ugly encounter with her mother, Apple seeks her father (Brendan Fraser), a Wall Street success story.

If you’re rolling your eyes and jumping to the conclusion that this is just another Cinderella story, you’d be wrong. I was. This movie doesn’t offer all the easy platitudes one might expect. Gimme Shelter takes the issue of abortion head on. I’ll be honest, I tried to put myself in the the step-mom’s shoes, so I could empathize with the tsunami of emotions she must have been experiencing, but it wasn’t happening. I simply couldn’t like her. Abandonment and shame are as stuck on Apple as the tattoos wrapped around her neck.

For me, the highlights of Gimme Shelter are twofold. First, the fact that this story is based on the real life of Kathy DiFiore, an amazing woman who had been homeless herself and then, when life gave her a second chance, chose to pay it forward by opening her home to pregnant teenage girls. Second, the beautiful message of freedom, healing, and hope that happens when one finds their voice. (I’d love to dish more about that highlight, but I don’t want to share any spoilers.)

This is simply a thumbs up movie. While there is a beautiful Christian message that’s thread into the conclusion of the movie, it’s not overt. In fact, my family all commented on the fact that it seemed more sincere because it wasn’t forced.

As a mom and teacher, I would encourage families with mature tweens and teens to watch this movie together. Doing so paves the way for conversations about difficult, but oh-so-real issues with our kids. This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

We have no doubt that this would have had 5 thumbs up if Ben (13) had been able to see it, but he was serving at a youth event last weekend when we watched it. He’ll get his turn later this week and I’ll have him leave a comment here.

Gimme Shelter opens in theaters this Friday, January 24th, in theaters near you. It’s not often that high quality movies with Christian values and messages are available, so when they are, we want to support them, so that we might enjoy more movies like this.

Based on a true story, GIMME SHELTER is the story of a young girl named Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) who, after running away from an abusive home environment, moves in with her wealthy, wall street father (Brendan Frasier). Soon after moving in to her new home, Apple discovers that she is with child. After being given a grim ultimatum by her father, Apple runs away and is almost killed before being saved by a kind priest (James Earl Jones) who gives her chance at the life – and the family – she never knew could be hers.
NOTE: We received an advanced preview of Gimme Shelter from Grace Hill Media for an honest review of this film.