Gimme Shelter | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Gimme Shelter

A melodrama inspired by real people about a sanctuary for troubled pregnant teens


An angry teen (Vanessa Hudgens) from a troubled home seeks out her long-estranged father, a Wall Street broker (Brendan Fraser). But her pregnancy complicates the reunion, and she winds up on the streets. Luckily, she is taken in by a woman (Ann Dowd) who runs a home for pregnant teens with no family support. Ron Krauss' melodrama is based on a real sanctuary in New Jersey, and for all this film's TV-movie trappings, one suspects that the material would have been better served by a documentary. Shelter doubles down on making former teen star Hudgens grungy and "real," but it's time that would have been better spent fleshing out some of the other girls' stories and providing better context about how the group home functions as a way station. Ironically, all we ever learn about the girls at the home is what they read aloud from their pilfered psychological profiles — that is, how some stranger has judged them. If you miss the troubled-teen TV movies of yore, this one's for you, but, for all its good intentions, it gives short shrift to its subject matter.

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