“Gimme Shelter” – Why You Should See This Movie


Last week the Hubbie and I went to our first invitation-only movie preview.  Not one of these sneak previews where you pay full price and go the night before a movie opens (really – what’s so special about THAT?). No – this was a free advance showing of the new movie “Gimme Shelter,” a movie with a strong Christian perspective, for the purpose of getting audience feedback and trying to get the word out.

The movie opens nation-wide THIS FRIDAY January 24.  If you haven’t heard of it – don’t worry.  I hadn’t either.  Or maybe everyone else HAS heard of it, and I’m just living under a rock…..

At any rate……

I have to admit I’m always a bit cautious when it comes to Christian films.  Christian movie-making seems to be where Christian popular music was about 30 years ago.  At that time, Christians were just getting into contemporary music in a serious way, and they had a lot to learn.  Some of the music was…..well, it was “just ok.”  Eventually, though, some pretty good music started to appear.  And today, it’s really good – excellent, in fact.  But it would never have gotten where it is today without people like you and me listening to it, going to concerts, supporting it, providing feedback, etc.

So it’s important that you and I get engaged when Christian movies come on the scene.  If we want to influence our culture for Christ, it’s very important. Sometimes the movies end up being outstanding – Fireproof is one example.  Regardless, we need to support them and provide feedback if we are going to help Christian movies move toward excellence.

Based on all that, I went to the preview with cautious optimism.  And it paid off – the move was REALLY good – and it quickly became apparent that this was a movie worth sharing with my friends!

So here you have it, my very first movie review :-)

What’s It About?

The movie is based in reality, following the story of the “Several Sources Shelters” for pregnant teens in New Jersey, run by a woman named Kathy DiFiore.  While you might be tempted to think this is just a story about teenage pregnancy, you would be wrong – it is SO much more. The story revolves around a girl known as “Apple,” whose mother is an abusive drug user.  Apple has been in and out of foster homes, but as the movie opens, she is back with her mother, and it’s not working out. Ultimately, Apple makes a decision to run away and start her own life – but not without first attempting to connect with her biological father.  We soon learn she is pregnant by a previous relationship. I don’t want to give away the whole story, so I’ll stop there.

While this is the story line, there are several different themes that are running throughout the movie, any one of which could be worthy of it’s own development.  What that means is that when you get done seeing this, there is plenty to talk about with your fellow movie watchers!

Who’s In It?

You’ll recognize many of the key players:


Vanessa Hudgens as Apple

Vanessa Hudgens – plays “Apple.”  This role develops and morphs during the movie from angry, disturbed inner city teen to maturing mother.  Hubs and I both marveled at the breadth of this role and how well she portrayed its various aspects.  You may already be familiar with Vanessa – she’s best known for her role as Gabriella Montez in the movie “High School Musical,” although she has played in numerous other roles as well.




James Earl Jones – yes, THE James Earl Jones.  He plays a chaplain who befriends Apple and eventually connects her with the shelter for pregnant teens.







Brendan Fraser – plays Apple’s biological father.  Among his credits are the role of Rick O’Connell in “The Mummy” movies, which earned him multiple best actor nominations.







Ann Dowd plays Kathy, the woman who runs the shelter for pregnant teens.  She’s previously acted in “Side Effects,” “Compliance” (Best Supporting Actress), and “Marley and Me” – among others.






Rosario Dawson plays Apple’s mother.  Rosario has played Kate in the movie “Zookeeper,”  Emily Posa in “Seven Pounds,” and numerous other roles.

Why You Should See This Movie

Here’s the bottom line – If you’re looking for a feel-good movie where you can just sit back and relax – this isn’t it.  You WILL feel good by the end, but this movie will hit you emotionally, and will challenge your thinking.

There are plenty of reasons to see Gimme Shelter.  Here are just a few reasons:

1.  You have a friend who is not yet a Christian, but you’d like to start a spiritual conversation with them.

If you’re looking for a movie that will present the full Gospel message for you with no risk or effort on your part – forget it – you won’t get that with this movie.  What you WILL hear are clear Biblical messages about how God is working for your good even in the midst of problems, and that being a sinner doesn’t mean you can’t be reconciled to God.  You will see the Bible being used as a source of guidance.  Trust me – if you want to start a spiritual conversation with your friend or family member, you’ll be set up perfectly for an after-the-movie conversation.

2.  You know someone dealing with issues of teen pregnancy, drug use, physical/emotional abuse, or who has grown up in foster homes, etc., and would like to build a connection with them.

Again, inviting a friend who has dealt with these issues is a great way to get the conversation going.  If you feel the time isn’t quite right, at least go see the movie yourself so that you can use it as a conversations starter later (“I saw this movie, and it made me think of you.  Is this the kind of thing you experienced”?  You get the idea…)

3.  You’re considering ministry to folks in the inner city, in poverty, in the foster care system, etc.

You will likely get a much better appreciation for the challenges they face on a daily basis.  You’ll also understand why well-intentioned efforts to help people often fail, and what makes for successful efforts.  I’ve read several good books on the topic (like this one), but seeing it unfold on the screen before you really helps drive the points home.

4.  You would like to see a real-life example of how God can take someone society thinks is a “nobody” to make a huge impact in the lives of many other people.

Do you want to do something really big for God, but don’t know how God could use someone like you?  The movie will show a real life example of how God works.  Not going to say any more….go see it for yourself.

5.  You like movies that challenge you and make you think.

This is a good reason, but I put it last because in my book it’s the weakest reason of the bunch.  A movie like this is too good to just see as a piece of art.  See the movie.  Think about the movie.  But please….don’t stop at thinking.  Do something in response to what you’ve just seen.  Even if it’s just a first step….

Find More Information Here

You can check out the trailer at Gimme Shelter Trailer

You can also check out the story behind the making of the movie.

Gimme Shelter is rated PG13.  It opens at theaters nationwide on January 24.  You can find out where it’s playing in your area by going to its Fandango page.

In Summary

Opening weekend is critical!  The better the movie does that weekend, the longer it will play at theaters.  So please – support this movie by seeing it.  Invite your friends – and do something in response, whether it’s talking with friends about how God works through the tough times, or getting involved with someone who’s hurting right now.

I’d love to hear your comments.  Are you planning to see it?  Once you’ve seen it, what did you think?


Worship – Setting My Inner Child Free…..

This past week’s snowstorm caused no end of excitement in our household.  So much, in fact, that some of my friends marveled at how I could get so excited by something as simple as a little snow. But here’s the thing – it wasn’t about the snow….. My life is complicated – I’m sure yours is too.  I routinely deal with heavy topics that  consume my life.  They spill over into everything.  I’m distracted when I shouldn’t be, I’m too tired to enjoy things, and occasionally I don’t react as I should (yes, it’s true…).  What’s more,  when I go to church, sometimes I struggle to stay focused and worship. But every once in a while, something happens that changes all that.  Snow is one of those things.  I’m not talking about just seeing lots of “white stuff” on the ground, or skiing or sledding.  I’m talking snow FLAKES – watching them land, and looking at their designs before they melt to nothing before my eyes.Snowflake1 Yes, like most of you (at least those that will admit it), there is a small child that still lives in me. And this child plays a bit of a game, trying to find two identical snowflakes.  I haven’t done it yet.  And I understand from those who’ve tried, even after cataloging thousands and thousands of snowflakes, I’m not likely to see two that look the same.  And even if I did – I’m pretty much guaranteed they will be different if only I look closer. But I digress….. The whole point is that snowflakes captivate me – they make me lose all sense of time, and forget my problems and anything else that’s not really that important.

   I want to let my “inner child” worship, as only my inner child can do.

And they evoke this surprising response from me. It’s like God is showing off part of His creation in a private showing – just for me.  I’m filled with wonder – at the beauty and detail of what God has made, and at the incredible God that could create something like this. I’m  amazed that God would choose to show off His creation….to ME!.  It drives home to me that God not only knows I exist, He delights in me and loves to reveal Himself to me. And I love Him…. Well, it’s not just snow that does this.  There are other things….. Like seeing the tops of the clouds when I fly in a plane:  Above_the_Clouds In all of history, it’s only in the last several decades that anyone has seen this.  I get all excited to see this view that previously only God and the angels saw.  How cool is THAT???       And spider webs (without the spiders :-) ):Spider Web Morning I think about the God that designed the webs – all their various shapes and purposes.  They are beautiful and so perfectly detailed…..     Things like these in nature trigger the same reaction in me: This is SO beautiful……I can’t believe I got to see this….that God is showing this to ME – just me! And I feel like the most special child of God on the planet! I am TOTALLY delighting in God!     I am WORSHIPING God! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever felt that way.  I think might be a little of how David felt in 2 Samuel 6, when he was bringing the Ark to Jerusalem for the second time. You may remember that his first attempt didn’t work out so well – because David didn’t do it God’s way.  But David learned, and now the second time was incredible.

David Dancing before the Lord

David Dancing Before the Lord(http://lorialexander.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-scolding-wife.html)

And so we see David, in pure joy, praising God by “dancing before the LORD with all his might.”  It got to the point that David’s wife told him this was totally inappropriate behavior for a king.  But David was adamant: “therefore I will celebrate before the LORD.”  I think David was bursting with joy that God had allowed him to do something as special as bringing the ark to Jerusalem. And so he danced with child-like abandon, not caring what others might think. That’s what I want.  I don’t want to act my age, or according to what others think is appropriate when I’m with God.  I want to worship and celebrate before Him – no holds barred, in  pure joy.  I want to let my “inner child” worship, as only my inner child can do. Which makes me wonder – isn’t this another aspect of what Jesus meant when He said that only those who receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will enter it.   Yes, we need to come to Jesus with child-like faith, trusting Him as a child trusts a parent.  But then we are also called to worship as a child would worship – in pure amazement, pure wonder, pure enjoyment. That’s what I want in my relationship with God. And little things like snowflakes help me do that. How about you?  Am I the only one who sometimes struggles to worship in church (please tell me it’s not so!!!)  Have you found things that help you worship?  What does it look like for you when you delight in God and worship Him?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!