More than 2.5 million children, were homeless in America in 2013. At least 90,000 are homeless in England.
In Gimme Shelter, Vanessa Hudgens plays "apple", a teenager from an abusive home. Apple has spent the
best part of her formative years, being neglected by her mother, and abandoned by her father. Unable
to take any more of the suffering inflicted on her by her cruel drug addicted mom (a startling Rosario Dawson) apple flees to her estranged father, seeking the support that has been abscent her entire life.
Unable to resolve their irreconcible differences, apple finds herself homeless, walking the streets in desperation for food and trying to survive, while reaching breaking point. Her worries are compounded, when she discovers she's pregnant. Barely able to survive by herself, and faced with a child to care for, another cruel twist of fate, leads to the beginning of her personal redemption, and moral support from the sterling work of a preacher, played by James Earl Jones.
her trust in people shattered, apple is given an opportunity to rebuild her life, by a shelter for homeless teenagers, and pregant young woman. But apple's road to motherhood is not without further pain and we
are left wondering if she will ever make it to the other side, of the dark life that has been forced upon her.
Vanessa Hudgens delivers an incredible performance in Gimme Shelter. Her trademark hip glamour is completely abscent, as she disppears beneath the character, making apple seem real, and heartfelt.
She invests the role with compassion, and gives a heartbreaking performance. We feel every emotion apple goes through as she tries to overcome the odds that are stacked against her, and set an example for herself to become the good mother to own daughter, that her own never was. This is a tough film which deals with
homelessness, teenage pregnancy, loss, abuse, abandonment, betryal, and some heavy issues but there are moments of light relief, and hope, provided by apple's drive, to turn her life around, and the tough love
she receives from Jones' pastor, and the other girls at the homeless shelter, who provide a sense of sisterhood after an uneasy first encounter.
Like Halle Berry's Frankie & Alice, Gimme Shelter, is a film which didn't get the wide release it deserved while theatres are dominated by action packed blockbusters. But for all the lack of special effects, Gimme Shelter keeps you gripped from beginning to end, never quite sure which way the story is going to end, while
Vanessa keeps you rooting for apple, to make it out of the abyss.
A thoughtful, emotional and powerful film, Gimme Shelter deserves to see Vanessa rewarded with a gold statue come award season 2015, and raises awareness, and insight, of the struggle, that women like apple
go through, and how support from unexpected places, can lead to a better life.
Gimme Shelter is available on DVD now.