Author Topic: Take Shelter  (Read 12911 times)

ArmenianScientist

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Take Shelter
« on: October 02, 2011, 10:51:20 PM »
Take Shelter was a pretty spectacular film. Very deliberately paced, but it hits all the right emotional notes. The use of silence along with an oh so subtle and otherworldly score brings the mundane a sense of dread. This film is does one of the best jobs at bringing mental illness, and the helplessness of modern society to life. Not all of the periphery characters get the character arcs they observe, but there's no denying how great Shannon is in the lead role as Curtis.  He imbues his character with such a soft melancholy, that makes you uneasy in anticipation of his psyche's breaking point.

I also like how the film illustrates how we create our own problems, by obsessing about preventing an imagined problem. It portrays a life of quiet desperation beautifully showing how hard it is for Curtis to open up his wife, despite her clear desire to understand him. When Curtis loses his job, he has a demeanor of resigned acceptance, as though nothing in real life can compare to the fears of his subconscious.  In this manner, the film shows how divorced Curtis is from reality. Also, the film is quite suspenseful, with its artfully unshowy camera, because it never succumbs to cheap scares.

It's insane how good and gorgeous Jessica Chastain is. After seeing The Tree of Life and this, I kinda wish she was my mom (that is, if I didn't already have an amazing mother). She has such an expressive physicality making her great as a flawlessly compassionate mom.

Not quite sure what to make of the ending at the moment. Was it supposed to be a justification of Curtis' paranoia, or was it just another nightmare of his? I can't remember exactly what Samantha says, but it's something to the extent of her finally stating her acceptance of Curtis' worries. That might indicate either a subconscious desire for understanding on Curtis' side, or the film's pessimistic take on the random bleakness of the universe a la A Serious Man. Any thoughts on the ending?

FroHam X

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 11:01:04 PM »
I absolutely loved the film when I saw it a couple weeks ago at TIFF. I still don't know exactly what to think about the ending. I will need to see the film again.
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gerryburns

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2011, 07:41:21 PM »
I'm jealous.  I hope it opens here soon, but it looks like theatres have to devote multiple screens to Lion King, Dolphins Tale, and the Smurfs!
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Drew_Hunt

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 12:07:52 AM »
I think people who are interpreting the end of this movie on a purely literal basis are missing the point. This is a film brimming with allegory, mostly the way Curtis and his family endure the storm[/i] that is the financial crisis and its somewhat pessimistic view that things are only going to get worse. I thought the ending surmises that notion splendidly and in a way that is poignant, poetic and stirring.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 12:23:24 AM by Drew_Hunt »
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FroHam X

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 12:14:34 AM »
I completely agree, Drew. Did you listen to this week's Filmspotting Bonus Content? They discuss the ending, and Adam has a really excellent take on it that has very much changed my view.
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Drew_Hunt

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2011, 12:22:23 AM »
I sure did! Although, with all do respect, I had already formulated my current opinion after the movie finished. I definitely agree with Adam's reading, though. If anything, it made me feel more confident in my interpretations.

I really can't wait to see this one again, though. I was really moved by this movie and Michael Shannon's performance.
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KaiserSennheiser

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2011, 03:44:05 PM »
about the ending:  don't have the time to be long winded, but, why does it have to be one or the other?  I don't see why the ending if it were "real" would take away from what came before.  He was paranoid, he was going mad, AND the storm is real.  I think Adam is right in so far as it's important that his reaction was different.

ArmenianScientist

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2011, 08:06:19 PM »
about the ending:  don't have the time to be long winded, but, why does it have to be one or the other?  I don't see why the ending if it were "real" would take away from what came before.  He was paranoid, he was going mad, AND the storm is real.  I think Adam is right in so far as it's important that his reaction was different.

An interesting point. But if the storm was real, it would validate Shannon's behavior to a certain extent, which would feel dishonest given how the film showed Shannon's family, social, and economic live's fall apart due to that behavior. So, I guess you could say Shannon's growth as a character stems from his calmer reaction to the storm now that his wife understands his neuroses. However, that reading would lend credence to the notion that there is an apocalyptic future awaiting for us, and we just have to learn to cope with it. Personally, Adam's reading (where the last scene is a dream and serves as a symbol of Shannon overcoming his nightmares) is more comforting and fits the rest of the film better. Your reading also shows how Shannon overcomes his fear through openness with his family, but it's more disingenuously fatalistic; possibly more in line with the bleak tone of that last scene, though. Who knows...
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 08:10:09 PM by ArmenianScientist »

FlickingDC

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2011, 09:31:24 PM »
I agree with Adam's reading completely. Even before listening to Adam's take, I had come to a conclusion that was similar, though Adam's description was richer and more eloquent than it was in my head.

While there are movies where part of the fun is that the ending teeters between two equally plausible but very different readings, I think in this case the ending has to be a dream. Well, it's always dangerous to say anything so definitively about a movie, so insert here all the disclaimers about art being open to interpretation. Let's just say, for me, this movie is awesome with the dream reading and a waste of time with the literal reading.

Wow, I love this movie. The ending punched me in the gut. I think the emotional beauty of this film is in the wife sticking with him. There are two key character changes in the film. One is the husband finally opening up the wife and the other is the wife realizing that the proper response to the husband is not anger but sympathy for someone who is obviously sick. The moments that got to me emotionally were the ones where he opens up and she stays with him.

One other note about the ending. I'm not sure if Adam said this explicitly though I suppose it was implied but I'll say it anyway. The coming storm is his continuing illness. Therefore, what the wife and daughter saw in the dream was not a literal storm but they were recognizing his illness as a real thing in the world that they would have to survive together.

moviephiliac

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Re: Take Shelter
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 02:11:36 PM »
I absolutely loved this film, saw it yesterday and haven't been able to stop contemplating it since. I need to see it again! I have been reading a lot of the theories about the ending being a dream but I have to say I disagree. While it may be symbolic of numerous things I think that it was real based on the clues that we are given in the final scene. We see the storm briefly from his daughter's POV and lingeringly from his wife's POV as well. If I can recall correctly, nothing had been presented outside of Curtis' POV for any other character alone up until that point dealing with the coming storm. So I think that Nichols is intentionally showing us that the storm exist to other characters now and therefore is real. I'm not sure why the close up of the yellow rain on his wife's hand would be necessary if it was just his dream alone. Also, unlike all of the other scenes dealing with the storm the mood is calm.

Of course I think it was intentionally left ambiguous just for us to contemplate if it was real or not as well, which is kind of frustrating.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 02:29:13 PM by moviephiliac »