Gimme Shelter (2013 film)

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Gimme Shelter
Gimme Shelter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ronald Krauss
Produced by Ronald Krauss
Jeff Rice
Written by Ronald Krauss
Starring Vanessa Hudgens
James Earl Jones
Rosario Dawson
Stéphanie Szostak
Emily Meade
Ann Dowd
Brendan Fraser
Music by Ólafur Arnalds
Cinematography Eric Steven Kirkland
Edited by Marie-Hélène Dozo
Mark Sult
Distributed by Roadside Attractions
Release date
  • October 17, 2013 (2013-10-17) (Heartland Film Festival)
  • January 24, 2014 (2014-01-24) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,359,910[1]

Gimme Shelter is a 2013 American independent Christian drama film written and directed by Ronald Krauss and starring Vanessa Hudgens, James Earl Jones, Rosario Dawson, Stéphanie Szostak, Emily Meade, Ann Dowd, and Brendan Fraser. It is based on a true story about a runaway teenage girl who gets pregnant and is placed in a home for pregnant girls.[2][3]


Agnes "Apple" Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens) has never had an easy life. She's been in and out of foster care for years, and her mother June (Rosario Dawson) is an abusive addict who only wants her for the welfare money she provides. She decides to run away and go in search of her absent father Tom Fitzpatrick (Brendan Fraser), whom she discovers is now a wealthy Wall Street broker with a family. He agrees to take her in, but she's quickly forced out again when he and his wife learn she's pregnant and don't agree with her decision to keep the baby.

When a pimp forces her into his vehicle to discuss "business", Apple jumps into the driver's seat, speeds away and crashes the car. Apple awakes in a hospital where a priest, Father McCarthy (James Earl Jones), is waiting to speak with her. After gaining her trust Father McCarthy arranges for her to stay in a home for pregnant teenage girls. The shelter is run by a formerly homeless woman named Kathy (Ann Dowd). June is informed that Apple will be staying there and goes to the shelter in an attempt to take her to her home, but is forced to leave after she gets violent.

Apple bonds with the other girls at the shelter, beginning to open up and trust them. She gives birth to a baby girl and names her Hope. Tom comes to visit and the two reconcile. He offers to let Apple and Hope come live with him, but as they're leaving Apple realizes she's already made a home for herself at the shelter and decides to stay.



The film was filmed in New York, and New Jersey. Filming started June 9, 2011.[4]

To prepare for this film, director Ronald Krauss lived for over a year in the Several Sources Shelter founded by Kathy DiFlore, and grew to know DiFiore, the shelter, and the two girls Apple Bailey is based on. The film was shot in the home of Kathy DiFiore and the original Several Sources Shelter.[5]

Vanessa Hudgens, in explaining why the story of Apple appealed to her, said, "... it’s very relevant to what’s going on around us and I think that it’s easy to block it out because it’s uncomfortable. It’s something that we don’t want to discuss, but the fact is it’s happening all around us. Young people are becoming homeless and don’t have anywhere to go. Young mothers who have no support and no love and no place to call their own… just so much. I mean, abuse and homelessness, it’s all happening around us way more than we are allowing ourselves to see."[6]

Discussing why her role as Apple's drug-addicted mother June had special meaning for her, Rosario Dawson said, "My mom had me when she was 17. I grew up in a squat in the Lower East Side, and the dropout rate and teen pregnancy rate in my hood was very high. Luckily, my mom had some support and was a good role model. She told me I could be anything I wanted to be. But not everybody gets a happy ending. Some people make some bad choices, and they never, ever recover from them.” [7]

Brendan Fraser and James Earl Jones donated their salaries to the real-life shelters (Several Sources Shelters) portrayed in the film.[8]


Gimme Shelter received generally unfavorable reviews from film critics, and much more favorable reviews from audiences. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives a film-critic score of 23% based on 70 reviews, with an average score of 4.7/10; and an audience score of 66% based on 7,489 reviews with an average score of 3.7/5.[9] The aggregator Metacritic gave the film 37/100 based on 29 critics, and a user score of 7.6/10.[10]

On, critic Sheila O'Malley rated the film 2-1/2 stars out of 4, saying the "scenes between Dawson and Hudgens vibrate with pain and ugliness. The script is often obvious, with all feelings laid out too cleanly, but both actresses still manage to create a jagged relationship based on their characters' codependence and shared traumas. One of the film's strengths is its portrayal of the 'system' and what it does to abused children, and the layers of bureaucracy that make it hard to bring about meaningful change in people's lives." [11]


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