Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gimme Shelter and pass the tissues

Usually when I watch a movie, I don't cry. My friends will tell you I wear my heart on my sleeve as I'm often emotionally moved by, well anything. A song, a video, a certain piece of art, a really good meal, any number of things will cause my heart to swoon but is it rare that I am moved to tears. That's what happened while watching Gimme Shelter, Ron Krauss's new film starring Vanessa Hudgens.

Gimme Shelter tells the story of Apple, a teenager who's spent most of her life in & out of foster houses but in no one's hearts. After discovering she's pregnant, Apple reaches out to her estranged father for help but this doesn't go as well as planned and friction between her step-mother and her step-siblings causes her to seek other means of help. After a few days of living on the street, her desperate actions land her in police custody and a chance she's never had before, to have someone care for her. Based on the life of a girl taken into a shelter run by Kathy DiFiore, pictured above, this movie gives hope that the people who need the most help will get a helping hand at the right moment.

When the movie started, I knew this would be a difficult emotional journey. I have experience with the all too familiar story of a child abandon by her parents, a few of my childhood friends know this tale personally. The opening scene is brutal and heartbreaking as you see just how heavy a hand life has deal Apple. In fact, Vanessa's performance as Apple makes her unrecognizable, when she came in the theater for the Q & A, I wasn't sure the woman on the screen was the same person sitting in front of me. As good as Vanessa's performance was, Rosario Dawson's was outstanding. The scene they have together in the hospital is one of the best I've seen in a film as you see Rosario trying to explain how she is doing the best she knows how to be Apple's mother.

As I watched the film I was completely captured by cast's performance. I felt all of the anger, heartbreak, fear, and pain of Apple as she went from a scared little girl, who only wanted to have a family, to a young woman and mother who would do whatever it took to be everything her parents were not. I felt the disappointment, bitterness, failure, and fear June felt when Apple was taken away from her. Though I felt the end was abrupt, it ending on an emotional breakthrough Apple has in front of her father- she realizing for the first time she finally has the family she's always wanted- I feel this is a powerful, well produced film. I feel not only should people see it, but the performances Vanessa Hudgens and Rosario Dawson give should be seriously consider for awards and accolades.
Kathy DiFiore was nice enough to take a picture with me. 

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