Top positive review
110 of 114 people found this helpful
"I don't know if this is what I want..."
on 30 June 2008
If 'Tan Lines' wasn't what you you hoped it would be, then 'Shelter' is definitely the film for you. The gay surfer movie that people have wanted to see since 'Point Break', it's a classic love story, in a sunny California setting.
Zach (Trevor Wright) is the 22 year old protagonist; he missed out on an art college scholarship, and is stuck working in a diner in a dead-end town. He spends his free time doing street art, surfing, and looking after his (stunning) 5 year old nephew, Cody. This family obligation has been foisted upon him by circumstances: his older sister, Cody's mother, has a string of self-destructive relationships and addictions. Though constrained by this obligation, Zach is like a father to Cody and puts that bond above his own aspirations.
Enter the man who will change Zach's life: Shaun (Brad Rowe) - the confidently gay, older brother of Zach's best friend. Shaun understands Zach in a way that no one else has done, seeing through his tough-guy front. The two men instantly connect, and spend time surfing and taking care of Cody. One drunken night leads to a kiss between them...internal conflict and raw emotions ensue, as Zach wrestles with his desires, while trying to accommodate his familial duties and the limitations of his own self-image.
If this plot-line sounds vaguely unoriginal, it is. All the expected story arcs are present, from the initial shock and brooding self-analysis, to the supportive ex-girlfriend. Added to which are the expected polemics: rich v. poor; urban concrete v. beach and waves; ties of family obligation v. the lure of romantic love. In fact, there is nothing unpredictable about 'Shelter'. Nonetheless, all this is easily forgiven - because the story just 'works' so beautifully. It has it all: a handsome cast (who fill out their wetsuits nicely), sparkling chemistry between the protagonists, moody sunsets, the glittering ocean, moments of humour, and base human desires; all underscored by a poignant soundtrack.
Even the hardened 'not-another-coming-out-movie' cynic will find 'Shelter' an emotive, heart-warming, tear-jerker. A life-affirming, classic love story, with excellent, authentic performances from the cast, 'Shelter' will undoubtedly be a instant hit.