Gimme Shelter

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Gimme Shelter Movie Poster Image
Abuse and teen pregnancy are themes in flawed family drama.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No matter how bleak your situation, there's a way out if you ask for help and accept it when it's offered.

Positive Role Models

Apple is resilient and resourceful, two attributes that help her steer her future in the right direction. And when things begin to look up, she's grateful. The girls at the house are, for the most part, supportive.


An abusive mother screams and manipulates her teenage child, calling her useless and other names. Later, she attempts to cut someone's face with a blade (it's a brief scene, but she draws blood). A mother and her teenage child scuffle. One character has a car accident. Nothing gory is seen but it's clear it's bad.


There's talk of teenage sex and a teen is pregnant.


A fair amount of swearing, including "s--t" and "bitch." Young kids call a teen "stupid" to her face.


Some brand names and logos are seen, including Greyhound and Mercedes Benz.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A teenager sees her mother smoking pot and drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gimme Shelter is an earnest drama, inspired by real-life events, centered around a 16-year-old who's trying to flee from an abusive mother. It deals with fairly mature themes and involves intense situations -- including a feral fight between the mother and daughter, drug addiction and teenage pregnancy -- that may prove too heavy for some teens. There's swearing, including "s--t" and "bitch," a brief scene involving drug use witnessed by a minor, and sequences that show a parent verbally and physically abusing a child.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythe Rogue March 3, 2018

Protect Life

Gimme Shelter is a moving story about the importance of life and love that every young adult should see. This film clearly portrays the beauty of life as a tee... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byasavge377 April 29, 2014

Powerful, but quite unexciting

GIMME SHELTER is an independent film about teen pregnancy and homelessness based on true events. I feel that this movie has a powerful message, but the plot jus... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byhiphoph April 1, 2014

From Heartbreak to Hope

Gimme Shelter is an uplifting tale of a young woman. The movie doesn't sugarcoat the roughness of life, and didn't seem hugely preachy as some films h... Continue reading

What's the story?

Agnes (aka Apple) Bailey (Vanessa Hudgens) is 16 and tired. She's tired of living with a neglectful, drug-addicted mother (Rosario Dawson) and tired of feeling like she's all alone navigating an already compromised life. She sets off to find the father she never knew (Brendan Fraser), who got her mother pregnant when they were teens. And though he seems willing to help, he doesn't know how. Neither does his wife (Stephanie Szostak), especially when it becomes clear that Apple is pregnant. Apple's only hope may be a halfway house for pregnant teens run by a woman who once was homeless (Ann Dowd). But is it?

Is it any good?

Vanessa Hudgens is the high note in this well-meaning, but unexciting movie. She turns in a strong and energetic performance that ultimately suffers because of elementary filmmaking that lurches from one plot point to the next, revealing neither depth nor complexity. Rosario Dawson, too, is fantastic -- too bad the movie doesn't have the heft or grit her portrayal of a neglectful, abusive mother deserves.

The movie does uplift, but in that maddeningly unspecific, forgettable way that afterschool specials do. Had the characters been written with more layers and insight, and sans the heavy-handedness that afflicts it as it stands, GIMME SHELTER could've risen to its potential.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about abusive relationships. Why is it so difficult to get out of an abusive relationship? Does this movie accurately depict the difficulty of extracting oneself from abuse? If you witnessed abuse, who could you tell?

  • Does this film shed new light on the plight of abused kids, foster care, and teen pregnancy, or does it perpetuate the usual facts? Where can you find out more about these topics?

Movie details

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