Take Shelter is Jeff Nichols second feature length film and was the third of his four that I have seen. I’d heard this one was really good and I recently joined DVD.com, a Netflix company, for the first time in years. I really enjoyed Take Shelter and feel it belongs in the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
Take Shelter from what?
Michael Shannon is a superb actor who doesn’t look like he should be a lead, but is so great in the role. This film is no different. At first I was upset with his lack of communication with his wife, but the story ends up making perfect sense. Curtis is clearly a guy who believes he has to be tough and be the rock for his family. The dreams he is having shakes him to his very foundation and he doesn’t know how to deal with this feelings. When new information is revealed about his past it becomes even more apparent why he is so shaken yet silent about this dreams. Jessica Chastain plays Samantha, his wife, and Tova Stewart plays his daughter who happens to be deaf. Both characters are well acted and work really well with Shannon’s performance.
There is no better example of Curtis’s need to be strong for his family then when he wakes up from a nightmare and discovers he has wet the bed. Samantha managed to wake up and start getting ready before this occurred so when she returns to the room Curtis is clearly worried she’ll discover his accident. He lashes out trying to keep her away from the bed and encourages her to get out of the house so he can hide his shame. The scene really exemplifies his character’s inner-struggle with getting a grip on whatever is going on with him.
Jeff Nichols writes really interesting stories with very fleshed out characters. His movies are always re-watchable and often has multiple meanings embedded into the already interesting story. Of the three films I’ve seen, Mud stands out as the most straightforward. Midnight Special and Take Shelter require the audience to suspend their disbelief a bit more than Mud required, but the audience is well rewarded if they are able to do so. Take Shelter is one I will definitely revisit as the more I consider what various aspects could mean the more I need to see things again with those new meanings in mind.
Take Shelter is a really solid film that features great performances and an intriguing story. It’s a well-paced drama that maybe runs a little long, but pays off well at the end. I sat watching the credits for a few moments contemplating exactly how I felt after seeing the end and pondering what would happen to the characters next.