Opinion

New film Gimme Shelter challenges us all

It’s not a pro-life film or a Christian film. It is a human film that shows what can happen when people act without courage, and challenges us to rise up and protect those without the means or circumstance to protect themselves.
Tue Jan 21, 2014 - 2:43 pm EST

January 21, 2014 (MelaniePritchard.org) - Recently, I previewed and met with the director of a movie that will be coming to theaters on January 24, 2014 called Gimme Shelter. It depicts a young girl’s journey of escaping the entrapment of abuse and feelings of abandonment to finding a home—a shelter for young pregnant women. It is there where she discovers family, friendship, love, and the blessing of life.

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The story is based on the true life of Kathy DeFiore who is played by actress Ann Dowd. Kathy runs this type of shelter in New Jersey.

Vanessa Hudgens, who plays a pregnant teenager named Apple, makes the movie come to life with her incredible performance capturing the emotion and look of the character she portrays. It was an Oscar winning performance in my book, but she will probably be overlooked in the biased world of Hollywood.

Apple hopes her long lost father (played by Brendan Fraser) will help and support her, but in turn he betrays that hope. It is clear that she comes to the quick understanding that a man that would turn his back on her would easily do the same for his grandchild. This seems to be an all too common response from not only the father in the movie but our society as a whole. Instead of being men and women of strength, virtue, and honor— we have become a nation that wants to see the immediate disappearance of problems and circumstances no matter the cost, no matter the price.

The heroine of the film is the woman who takes Apple into her home, which is also a shelter for unwed pregnant women. She is a woman of character and strength who gives Apple an opportunity to break the bonds of her past and become a different kind of mother to her own child.

As I met with Ron Krauss, the director of the film, I discovered his passion for making this film.  He shared that he did not want to merely create a movie, but rather a movement. Indeed, he did. This film depicts reality, one from which many want to hide and pretend doesn’t exist.

The opening scene sets the stage of the movie showing the violence in which children are exposed. I squirmed in my seat, not wanting to face the reality of suffering that other children like Apple face everyday in this country and all over the world. The movie made me want to run home and hug my own children and make sure they were safe. And at the same time, I wanted to respond to what I was seeing before my eyes in this film. I wanted to be like Kathy, the real life woman in the movie—who has done whatever it takes to protect children. The world needs more Kathys.

The director lived in the actual shelter where he wrote this film in the midst of girls who have faced a kind of adversity most of us cannot comprehend. After the film was over, I helped lead an interview session with the Director, Kathy and a small audience. At the end, I thanked Kathy for being a modern day Mother Theresa, and I thanked the director Ron Krauss for having the courage to make an honest film in Hollywood. The crowd must have been thinking the same thing because they stood and clapped loudly in agreement.

I encourage every person to see this film. It’s not a pro-life film; it’s not a Christian film, and it shouldn’t get labeled as such. It is a human film. It is for all eyes to see because it is real and it is time for us to stop hiding from the reality of what can happen when people act without courage. This movie’s challenge is for each of us to do, to act, and to move. This movie’s challenge is for each of us to rise up and protect those who do not have the means or circumstance to protect themselves.

Let’s make this movie a blockbuster at the theaters the week of January 24th! Let’s make this movie a movement towards protecting the dignity of every human being!

Note: This is a PG-13 film and does contain some violence and some adult themes that may not be suitable for every age. To view the trailer and hear more details go to http://gimmeshelterthemovie.com.

This piece is reprinted with permission from MelaniePritchard.org.


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