Monday, September 13, 2010

My movie review: Shelter

September 14, 2010

Shelter is an amazing, beautiful movie. The unhurried pace reels the viewer in, unsuspecting, and unfurls a powerful, complex story that is simply told.

Set against a backdrop of contrasting economic backgrounds and surfing, Shelter is first and foremost a love story. If you need to label your movies beyond that, then yes, it's a gay love story. Except for one (to the writer of erotic romance) modestly - and very well done - love scene, this film transports you past the 'gay' label and proves that love is about what is in a person's heart, not their pants.

What few surfing scenes that are included are brief and beautifully shot, so don't let the apparent "surf theme" keep you from this movie. Zach and Shaun could just have easily been roller bladers for all it has to do with the heart of the movie, which is Zach.

The plot follows a wonderfully familiar arc, but that doesn't detract from the movie one iota. Instead, it's a poignant reminder of the shared human experience. We all struggle with who we are, how we want to grow as a person, and how family expectations are often at odds with personal needs. Trevor Wright, as Zach, brings this to the screen with a powerful and unpretentious portrayal of a young man on the edge of faltering, yet able to keep it all together and find his way. When he does, Shaun is there.

Trevor Wright and Brad Rowe (Shaun) deliver wonderfully understated and nuanced performances. In an era of big budgets, flashy movie stars, and special effects saturation, Shelter shines like a diamond, free of those detracting inclusions and focusing its light on people.

Shelter is a beautiful movie. If you have the chance, watch it. Better yet, buy your own copy of it, because you will want to watch it again and again.

So there it is - my first movie review. Obviously, I don't review for a living, and I don't have all the little buzz phrases down pat. That's okay. I know what I like, and I like this movie.

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