MPAA Rating: PG-13
Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Frazer, Ann Dowd. Drama. Written & directed by Ron Krauss.
FILM SYNOPSIS: From Press Notes: A pregnant teenager flees her abusive mother in search of her father, only to be rejected by her dad and forced to survive on the streets until a compassionate stranger offers a hopeful alternative.
PREVIEW REVIEW: Below, Iíve included a few films that ultimately express a sanctity-of-life theme. Most of these movies address the subject of an unexpected child, utilizing humor in order to make the subject matter of abortion palatable for Friday-night moviegoers. Therein lies the difference with this film. Itís not an after-school TV special (they use to make those). Itís not lightweight. Nor does it give us a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Rather, Gimme Shelter slaps us in the face with brutal realities.
While the film doesnít beat the viewer over the head with a proselytizing message, it does score points by suggesting a need for spiritual intervention. A person in the film who does pray for direction and help ultimately finds a positive resolve. Sadder examples indicate that those who donít turn to God continue to stumble in the dark.
Cute little Vanessa Hudgens from those Disney High School Musicals proves she has thespian chops. Shedding any movie star vanity, she creates a real-life person with her role as Apple (as in the apple of her fatherís eye). The actress takes on her character and the facts of life with truth and depth. She even goes so far as to put on weight in order to believably resemble a pregnant teen.
In the recent Stores We Tell, a filmmaker decides to shoot a documentary about her eccentric family. At one point the writer/director is told that her mother had not only considered aborting her, but was in route to the clinic in order to proceed with the termination. Suddenly, she turned to her husband and said, ďI canít do this.Ē Years later, the husband says to his moviemaking daughter, ďAmazing how close we were to you never existing. Almost enough to make you an anti-abortionist.Ē
For that statement to come from a onetime prochoice thinker makes it even more penetrating. We see home video of the moviemaker as a little girl spliced through the entire documentary. We also learn that she has been productive, and we see her relating to loving family and friends. The realization that she had been a car-drive away from not being a part of their lives haunts the production, perhaps negating any debate concerning a womanís rights over those of the unborn.
The same emotion hits us in the gut when we see Gimme Shelterís Apple holding her newborn.
Riveting. A film every teenager should see. And their parents!
DVD additions: Waitress. Trapped in a loveless marriage to an abusive wacko, a pregnant Jenna (Keri Russell) fights off depression by making pies for the restaurant where she waits tables.†Though she doesnít want a baby by a man she has come to despise, she realizes that the unborn child has rights and she does everything possible to see that the fetus is getting what it needs to develop correctly.†A poignant parable, Waitress makes you laugh out loud and ultimately touches your soul.†On one level, it is somewhat fluffy, but as you savor the story, dialogue and performances, you begin to realize that it is layered and thoughtful. Read the Preview Review
Juno. A smart teen (Ellen Page) becomes pregnant after her first sexual encounter and decides to have the baby, giving it up to an adoptive perfect couple. As soon as Juno discovers sheís pregnant, her first notion is to have an abortion (tells you where the society is at, doesnít it?), but without the filmmakers attempting a flagrant pro-life statement, the sanctity of unborn life quickly becomes apparent. Read the Preview Review
March of the Penguins. In the Antarctic, every March the quest begins for penguins to find the perfect mate and start a family. This courtship begins with a long journey Ė a trek that will take hundreds of the tuxedo-suited birds across seventy miles of frozen tundra to a location where the courtship will begin. Itís full of impressive, almost unworldly locations and amazing cinematography, and most importantly, it sends a powerful message concerning the importance of life. Nature is reminding us about the sanctity of life.
*Too often we defenders of the unborn come across as unfeeling or unthinking in regard to those who decided on that procedure. It should be stated that if indeed abortion is a sin, it is one that can be forgiven. The woman who condemns herself for the deed need only ask for Godís forgiveness. If she does, she will find it. And one day, she will be reunited with her child. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just a stone thrower. Now, what was it that Jesus said about throwing the first stone?
Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: There are a few minor expletives (damns and hells) and I caught one use of the s-word, but no other harsh language; there is some negative name calling.
Profanity: I caught none
Violence: A drugged out woman slaps her teen daughter; later, the woman tries to cut her daughter with a razor blade.
Sex: We see a baby birth, but it is handled discretely
Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None
Drugs: Though Apple has come from a drug infested community, drug use is not glorified Ė just the opposite.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Up
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