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Lifestyle

January 5, 2014

'Gimme Shelter' leaves viewers wondering what comes next

“Gimme Shelter” is a simplistic, faintly emotional account of a pregnant teen’s desperate search for help, support and compassion with the huge decision she faces.

It’s simplistic because the script discounts debate over that decision and glosses over the messy details of the path she chooses. But it’s emotional because we, and plainly some of the characters, know those messy details, even if other characters do not.

Agnes (Vanessa Hudgens) is 16 and poor, the daughter of a drug addict (Rosario Dawson) who had her too young. Agnes, who decides she wants to be called “Apple,” is all piercings, ill-fitting dirty clothes and tattoos. And if she needs a case study in how life can go wrong by having a baby at that tender age, she can look at mom — a raging, staggering, yellow-toothed horror in her early 30s.

But Apple, with no more warning than an “I’m OUT,” runs away — fist fighting her mother to get through the door. With just a little cash, the clothes on her back and a crumpled old envelope with an address on it, she sets out in search of the father she’s never met.

There are misadventures along the way — sleeping in a car she breaks into, threats from a pimp, a car crash, an arrest. Her affluent, suburban dad (Brendan Fraser) has two kids, a gorgeous French wife (Stephanie Szostak) and enough guilt to take her in. But the wife won’t stand for it.

“She’s trying to get between us!”

Hudgens seems to revel in playing Apple, a hostile, ill-mannered and impulsive Every Teen — not at all the sort of girl you’d want around if you’re worried about your own children. The character attracts violence and seems capable of it, too. And she is just clueless.

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