Take Shelter


Take Shelter

Critics Consensus

Michael Shannon gives a powerhouse performance and the purposefully subtle filmmaking creates a perfect blend of drama, terror, and dread.



Total Count: 162


Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,639
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Movie Info

Curtis LaForche lives in a small Ohio town with his wife Samantha and six-year-old daughter Hannah, who is deaf. Money is tight, and navigating Hannah's healthcare and special needs education is a constant struggle. Despite that, Curtis and Samantha are very much in love and their family is a happy one. Then Curtis begins having terrifying dreams about an encroaching, apocalyptic storm. He chooses to keep the disturbance to himself, channeling his anxiety into the obsessive building of a storm shelter in their backyard. But the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within the community doesn't compare to Curtis' private fear of what his dreams may truly signify. Faced with the proposition that his disturbing visions signal disaster of one kind or another, Curtis confides in Samantha, testing the power of their bond against the highest possible stakes. -- (C) Sony Classics


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Critic Reviews for Take Shelter

All Critics (162) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (149) | Rotten (13)

  • In my estimate, this unique and frequently arresting film suffers from the monotony of the lead players' affect, and from the film's urge to have its gloomy cake and eat it.

    Jun 20, 2013 | Full Review…
  • A hallucinatory thriller anchored by a deeply resonant sense of unease.

    Jan 4, 2012 | Full Review…

    Justin Chang

    Top Critic
  • The film's power should reside in this agonised human dilemma, but in the end it becomes a rather self-important shaggy dog story.

    Nov 25, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • As in Todd Haynes's 1995 masterpiece, Safe, we are in a world that can't be pinned down.

    Nov 25, 2011 | Rating: 4/5
  • The supernatural horror/suburban drama mash-up doesn't always sit well, but there's no need to take shelter from the Shannon/Nichols partnership.

    Nov 24, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • When future film historians look back at the cultural fallout from America's financial collapse, 'Take Shelter' will be a key text. That is, if the storm doesn't sweep us all away.

    Nov 22, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Take Shelter

  • Nov 16, 2015
    A guy's nightmares convince him that perhaps his family would be well served by expanding the tornado shelter out in the back yard. Only there's the history of mental instability in his family ... is it his turn to now slide into that dark abyss? His neighbors, his colleagues at work, and eventually even his wife start to wonder as well. Terrifically played by all concerned, but Shannon and Chastain really reel you into the consideration with the level of their involvement. Good filmmaking.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 31, 2013
    In my opinion, the most correct approach is to see the story as an allegory. About what? About what your heart tells you, not about what your mind tells you. <i>"We think too much and feel too little."</i> - Charles Chaplin On one hand, you have the set of societal rules and "rational" set of steps you need to take in order for you to have a mental state that the rest of the society will therefore catalogue as "stable" and "normal". On the other hand, you've got the indestructible power of family support and inspiration: the only source of comprehension and support comes from the wife (whose personality, love and loyalty reminds me of my girl: that's exactly what she would do if I were in Curtis' place); the only source of inspiration comes from both the wife and the daughter. There is not a stronger motor than the ones closest to you to keep living. We also find, on the same side of the story, our personal storms and how we choose to face them. Either we build a shelter and deny reality, or we pay attention to those close to us. Everyday, every action and step we take have a direct or indirect, weak or strong impact on others, like a butterfly effect. The lives of others would not be the same without our existence. This axiomatic principle does not apply only to friends and family, but to everybody. Now, we have to make a choice: either to be concerned about the uncertain future, or to worry about today. I think that the most important state of our existence is the present, because it is the present that drives the future, not the past. The present is that indivisible atom of time that prolongs the past and kisses the future. It is the only fragment of time that we are aware of us, that we are. We just are. We are today. We think we will also "be" tomorrow, or in a second, but the fact is that <b>we are not sure</b>. So, why the storm at the ending? Because the storm had to happen <b>that</b> day. It didn't happen before. The time to be concerned about the final storm is that final day. There was no need to be concerned weeks beforehand, becase the shelter, the money spent, the lost health insurance, the lost job, everything was for nothing. It brought along evils. Still, in the context of the film, those were necessary evils, because it brought along something of (hopefully) permanent value: Curtis realized that his family trusts him, that his daughter is concerned about him, and that his wife would never lie to him. With this, he could "open the shelter" and "see the light": everything was fine. He is fine with his family. He is fine with himself. I hear interesting comparisons of the film against <i>A Serious Man</i> (2009), which is like comparing a duck with a lion: they've got nothing to do with each other. The vibe provided is the same, but the message is not. So the message is: you will have troubles, and you will suffer in the future. But today, you are fine. Or maybe today, you are facing that trouble. The present is the only time that is alive and "is". Why should you worry about that which has not happened, and probably won't happen? A new talent has emerged, and his name is Jeff Nichols, who has enough ability to transmit several feelings with extraordinary precision: from authentic marital love, to hopelessness, to tension, to shivers, to sadness, to empathy, all compiled in a complete two-hour celluloid package with a powerful cinematography that captures its beautiful and ghastly imagery like a painting. Allow me to quote the Bible to make my final personal statement: <i>To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.</i> Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 97/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 15, 2013
    From Start to finish this movie sucked. Its a wonder it didn't ruin Michael Shannon carrer. 2 hours long are you kidding me, was this someone's tax write off. If you give thiss anything above 2 stars please I say please dont ask me to go to the movie with you. 1/2 star 11-09-13
    Bruce B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2013
    UNREAL!!!! Michael Shannon is crazygood.
    Stevie S Super Reviewer

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