Take Shelter is a 2011 American drama-thriller film written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father (Shannon) questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself. It was nominated for four Saturn Awards including Best Horror or Thriller Film and Best Actress for Chastain, and won Best Writing for Nichols and Best Actor for Shannon.
Our thoughts about Take Shelter
There is a lot of food for thought in this movie. In prior times, a man like Curtis would not be assumed to be mentally ill. The fact that he is having visions would be respected by both the bible and in native folk lore as he would be seen as a possible prophet in their midst. Curtis’s mother has been in long time care since she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. However, when we meet her, the question is really open as to her as well. We live in an age where science has decreed that things like portents, omens, seers, prophets and the like are impossible. That anyone who deals in this matter is just plain loco.
Curtis begins turning his storm shelter into more of an atomic bomb like shelter and runs into one person after another who is teed off at him, from his employer to his colleague to his wife. Yet he persists. What he sees is supported by reports which have been filed around catastrophes. For example, when tidal waves come in, birds do go crazy. They swarm and take off and some, in their hurry to get out, drop dead from the sky to the ground.
So the big question is whether Curtis is having a psychotic break with reality or if he is a seer who feels and sees a disaster coming. I know most people are going with the mental illness interpretation. Personally, I think since this this kind of person has been chronicled for thousands of years that it is possible that such a person could exist but does not want to broadcast his visions for precisely the reason that people will think he is insane.
One caution about this movie: it is very slow. If you are looking for a quick paced movie, this is not it. Depending on your location this film can be watched on Netflix!