Take Shelter (J. Nichols, 2011)
This review contains slight spoilers.
More intense and frightening than I ever expected. And, strange as it sounds, this is mostly a tale about love. Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain give dominating performances – Shannon as a man who may or may not be developing a mental disorder, and Chastain as his wife struggling to get him to let her inside. All the buzz is about Shannon’s performance, but I actually found Chastain’s to be better. In the beginning, her words and mannerisms were spot on as a caring, loving wife. And as the intensity built, she expressed anguish and confusion in a subtle yet powerful way. So many times in films like these the protagonist drives everyone away. In Take Shelter, Nichols treats us to a wife who doesn’t even seem to balk at the idea that she needs to love her husband. During a scene near the end, when everything has fallen apart, he asks is she is going to leave him and her first response is an embrace full of grace and forgiveness. There is a heck of a lot going on in this film, but I was mesmerized by the beautiful relationship, which was easily the highlight. 8.75/10