100 movies: Take Shelter

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100 movies of 2012
Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

Take ShelterTake Shelter (15/09/12)

Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.

If you were having wicked crazy dreams of the mother of all storms, would you go and make sure you’ve got a shelter to run to? I reckon I’d be rocking back and forth in the corner of my bedroom. But it’s good to see that there are some more pro-active people out there. Even if they are fictitious.

Take Shelter is one of those films that just keeps questioning what you really think is going on as well as the main character. At times I was fully onboard with Michael Shannon’s Curtis just going a little bit crazy. But then other times I was right there with him. I think much of that has to do with Michael Shannon’s performance. He makes you fully believe. Believe in his own inability to tell reality from fiction.

Jessica Chastain’s got another great role under her belt here. Before this year, I hadn’t seen a single film of hers and now I’m up to four! All of them she’s been very, very good. Her performance here is up there with how great she was in The Help and The Tree of Life. Jessica’s Samantha seems like quite a fragile woman on the surface, but she’s incredibly strong. But Jessica has a knack for almost under playing the strength. In a good way.

I do admit to getting a little bored towards the end section. The build up was just building and building and I was left waiting for something to happen. It meandered a little too much in the middle for me.

Visually, it’s stunning. There are so many beautiful shots in this film. From the flock of birds, the storm, when Curtis looks to the sky so many times. Beautiful.

Very engaging and beautiful looking film. Keeps ya guessin’!
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

71 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
  26. Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
  27. Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
  28. The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
  29. Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
  30. The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
  31. Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
  32. 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
  33. Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
  34. Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
  35. A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
  36. Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
  37. Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
  38. Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
  39. New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
  40. Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
  41. Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
  42. The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
  43. The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
  44. Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
  45. The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
  46. Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
  47. The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
  48. Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)
  49. Rebel Without a Cause 4/5 (22/06/12)
  50. A Lonely Place to Die 3/5 (26/06/12)
  51. Killer Joe 3/5 (29/06/12)
  52. The Amazing Spider-Man 4/5 (03/07/12)
  53. Raising Arizona 4/5 (04/07/12)
  54. Horrible Bosses 4/5 (06/07/12)
  55. Broadcast News 3/5 (07/07/12)
  56. We Need to Talk About Kevin 4/5 (07/07/12)
  57. Miller’s Crossing 4/5 (18/07/12)
  58. The Dark Knight Rises 5/5 (20/07/12)
  59. 21 Jump Street 5/5 (29/07/12)
  60. The Mystery Team 3/5 (07/08/12)
  61. The Help 4/5 (11/08/12)
  62. The Bourne Legacy 3/5 (13/08/12)
  63. The Expendables 2 4/5 (17/08/12)
  64. Brave 5/5 (19/08/12)
  65. Dracula 3/5 (19/08/12)
  66. The Woman in Black 3/5 (24/08/12)
  67. The Mummy 4/5 (28/08/12)
  68. Lawless 3/5 (30/08/12)
  69. Real Steel 2/5 (31/08/12)
  70. [REC] 3 Genesis 2/5 (04/09/12)
  71. Take Shelter 4/5 (15/09/12)


  1. Didn’t like it as much as you did although I agree there were some great performances and beautiful shots in it. This movie does manage to make you understand how someone going crazy might feel.

    • The terror was so subtle, but it’d hit you at key points and suitably scare me to my core!

      Thanks for dropping by, Alex!

  2. Seems like Michael Shannon is quite a force to be reckoned with. I’ve been curious about this one though I feel like it might be too slow. The subject matter of mental disability also hits too close to home as someone close in my family suffers from it, so it might be too hard to watch for me.

    • It is a bit hard to watch, even for me – I’ve got no experience of mental disability from anyone around me. But I would say, that you’d definitely get something out of it. It would be worth the watch.

  3. One of my favorites from last year because of the impending sense of doom that just glowed over the whole flick from start-to-finish. Also, I don’t think Shannon has ever been better and it’s a crime that the guy didn’t at least get an Oscar nod for this. Great review Jaina.

  4. Glad you liked it! Michael Shannon is one of my favorite actors – he is so talented, intense and charismatic. Loved his performance here, along with Fassbender’s work in Shame Shannon’s performance in Take Shelter is the biggest Oscar snub from last year. I agree about cinematography being beautiful but for me the most gorgeous thing was the music.

    • You know, I don’t think I noticed the music. Odd! That’s not like me. Must go back and see/hear what I missed!

  5. I thought of seeing this when it was released but then forgot. In the light of your review, I’ll add it to our rental list!

  6. Hey I finally got to see this, this week too. Great film but hated the very ending. Such a shame to undo so much good stuff throughout. Chastain and Shannon are magnetic.

    • I kinda liked the ending. I think, had we not had that ending, I would have been disappointed. There needed to be a reason for me.

  7. I was a little underwhelmed when I saw Take Shelter, maybe my expectations were too high, based on all the positive buzz…Probably need to give it a 2nd chance some day. Not bad, just didn’t blow me away. I agree it was a little slow im places.

    • There was a lot of hype surrounding the film, I remember that.

      I appreciate a bit of slow pacing every now and then, but at times it felt like they were just forcing the whole “he’s mentally unstable” aspect too much without using it to drive the film anywhere.

  8. This was one of my favorites from last year, and it brought about a lot interesting discussions, specifically about its ending. I loved the ambiguity, and I think it says something about ourselves in the way we choose to interpret it.

    • Yep. The ending is perfect. I’ve read a few people out there weren’t so happy with it. But I took from it when I wanted to.

  9. Oh this is a beauty of a film. This was my #3 movie of 2011 and Michael Shannon was my #1 Best Actor for 2011. It was pure robbery that he wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. This is such a powerful movie and there is so much simmering under the surface of Shannon’s character. I love “Take Shelter”. So glad you caught up with it.

  10. I have to agree with Eric when saying it was one of my favorites from last year as well. I tell everyone this, but it felt like an excellent episode of Twilight Zone to me. I wonder if that’s where the director got his inspiration from. I’m looking forward to many more movies with Micheal Shannon

    • Definitely more big drama from Michael Shannon. Caught the trailer for The Iceman in the cinema the other day. Looks like an interesting one from Shannon.

  11. I watched this a few weeks back and I think my thoughts mostly resemble yours, except for where you felt a little boredom towards the end, I felt it took a while to really get going. For the first half hour I debated whether it was a slow burner or just plain slow.

    I’m reluctant to admit that I did cried at one point, but I guess that’s testament to the film’s ability to really make me feel like I was on that journey with Shannon’s character. The constant thread of ‘is he losing his mind’ aspect was a touch of genius, leaving me hoping, for his sake, that he wasn’t.

    • Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I cried too! All along I was really hoping that he wasn’t losing his mind because, like you, I really didn’t want him to fall down that way.

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