Directed by Paul Bettany
Hannah and Tahir fall in love while homeless on the streets of New York. Shelter explores how they got there, and as we learn about their pasts we realize they need each other to build a future.
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★★★½ review by Elle Bronwen on Letterboxd
Before you read any further, I must admit that I was very biased when watching this film; I love Paul Bettany! His versatility is a unique characteristic in Hollywood, and I was excited to see what his directorial debut would bring us.
While Bettany's film is about homelessness in America, it seems to me it is more a social commentary on the fact that films about this subject matter are entirely ignored. The film interrogates the fact that we associate homelessness with delinquency and tend to put ourselves on an opposing level, instead of seeing our common similarities. Bettany forces us to realize in a shocking manner, that these two lovers are just like us in every way except, without a home.
The film acknowledges the failure of our governmental systems and the lack of sympathy we, as a society, have for the homeless. Similarly, Bettany seems to understand that his film is entirely unique in its subject matter. The film seems to be a challenge to Hollywood to expand the horizons and make movies that are difficult and not just status quo.
The film has its strong moments, generally led by the fantastic Anthony Mackie who gives depth to a difficult character. However, the film is often times saccharine and quite honestly a bit over the top, with oversimplified concepts and a trite love story.
But 'Shelter' is a unique experience...one that you won't often see in theatres. Hollywood just doesn't want to make movies about homelessness (weird, huh?). Bettany has taken the difficult subject of homelessness and forced it into our limelight and I can really, really appreciate that.
★★★½ review by Carlos Laron on Letterboxd
This was a very interesting take on the topic of homelessness. I loved how it was just about the characters and how they found and grew feelings for each other , not emphasizing much on their situation though this movie is also a social commentary. It was just sugarcoated with the driving force that is love (okay I'm cheesy). Two strong actors held the movie on their own and it's something you should see. That piano sound halfway through really gave me chills.
★★★★ review by Serge (Hunter) The Movie Guy on Letterboxd
What this film lacks in storytelling, it makes up for it in performances and direction.
Paul Bettany's first directional debut is really something. I can't believe he cast his wife in this. Simply because, she does a lot of uncomfortable things in this film.
Jennifer Connelly & Anthony Mackie really give great performances in this. What I thought was interesting was during the first half of this film, Anthony Mackie was the lead while Jennifer Connelly was the strong supporting role. During the second half, Jennifer Connelly was the lead and Anthony Mackie only showed up 3 or 4 times throughout the film. It's within those 2 halves that I feel like the story starting going nowhere. I felt for the characters and the situation they were in. That being said, a lot of this film just fells like filler so it can lead to the next big thing.
I still think it's a powerful story overall with great performances. Connelly and Mackie are the reason this film works so well.
Check it out on Netflix now.
★★★★½ review by Matt Thomas on Letterboxd
Bettany's directorial debut is tremendously good work. Restrained yet still confident enough to not shy away from difficult issues. Mackie deserves some credit, but it is Connelly whom throws herself fully into her role - and its more than an exercise in weight-loss. She strips away all the glamour to become a believable, if ambiguous character. The scene towards the end is really challenging. That day on set certainly wouldn't be what most co-working husband/wife teams get up to! A fabulous partnership.
★★★★ review by RBlaze on Letterboxd
Anthony Mackie and Jennifer Connolly give great performance
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