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.
★★★★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
★★★★½ review by Lebowskidoo on Letterboxd
Jennifer Connelly, who has starred in such depressing classics as Requiem For a Dream and House of Sand and Fog, goes for the threepeat with this downer of a homeless addict and her illegal alien boyfriend. Pretty heavy stuff. Connelly has to be the most attractive homeless person I've ever seen. Anthony Mackie is very good here, giving a great performance.
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