Plight of Homeless Highlighted in Bittersweet Romance Drama



Film Review by Kam Williams

Plight of Homeless Highlighted in Bittersweet Romance Drama

It’s probably a hard-sell when you choose to make any film, let alone a romance, revolving around the homeless. After all, in real life, most of us avoid interacting with them at all costs.

Shelter, Film Review, Brooklyn, Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Connelly, DramaSure, if cornered, we might give them the loose change in our pockets. But if we’re being honest, that charitable gesture is generally employed as a way of ignoring rather than engaging a beggar in a meaningful way.

Nevertheless, with Shelter, actor-turned-writer/director Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron) has opted to shed light on the plight of the least of our brethren. Bettany was ostensibly inspired by a couple who lived outside his and wife Jennifer Connelly’s building in New York City.

The compelling, character-driven drama co-stars Oscar-winner Connelly (for A Beautiful Mind) and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), a versatile Juilliard-trained thespian perhaps best known for his work as the superhero Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series.  Here, the pair play Hanna and Tahir, street people struggling to survive unseen in the shadows of Brooklyn.

Each is down-and-out as the result of a terrible turn of events. Hanna is a widow who developed a heroin habit in the wake of the death of her husband serving in Iraq. And Tahir is an African immigrant desperate for sanctuary in the U.S. who overstayed his visa to escape the violence back in his homeland.

As the film unfolds, the two are complete strangers. Their paths cross in Brooklyn where a friendship is forged based as much on a grudging on trust as on the urgent, mutual need for safety, food and shelter.

Meanwhile, they also find the time exchange life stories, leaning on each other’s shoulders for the empathy they could never hope to get from a world that no longer cares. Eventually, love blossoms, and together they hatch a plan to rejoin respectable society together.954488_ori

It would be unfair to spoil further any of the details of this poignant portrait painting a plausible picture of where any of us might be, but for fortune. While it’s no surprise that Connelly and Mackie might turn in powerful performances, a salute is also in order for Bettany for an impressive, timely and daring directorial debut guaranteed to shake you out of your comfort zone.

Excellent (4 stars)


Running time: 105 minutes

Distributor: Screen Media Films


For movies opening June 24, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening June 24, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS Free State of Jones (R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing images) Civil War saga about a white Mississippian (Matthew McConaughey) who leads  fellow farmers and former slaves in an uprising against the Confederacy. Supporting cast includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali. Independence Day: … [Read More its Good for You...]


Blood Brothers

  Blood Brothers The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith Basic Books Hardcover, $28.99 392 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-0-465-07970-4 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This book] is the story of how Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and the central role Malcolm X played in his life. It is a tale of friendship and brotherhood, love and deep affection. It is also a story of deceit, betrayal, and violence--inside and … [Read More its Good for You...]


ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent from sales one year ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]


A Holler from Mahershala!

  Mahershala Ali The “Free State of Jones” Interview with Kam Williams A Holler from Mahershala! Born in Oakland and raised in neighboring Hayward, California, Mahershala Ali received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications at St. Mary's College. He made his professional debut performing with the California Shakespeare Festival in Orinda, California. Soon thereafter, he earned his Master's degree in Acting from New York University's prestigious graduate … [Read More it Good for You...]


Yamaha Propeller Selector, Endless Propeller Solutions

  Yamaha Propeller Selector, Endless Propeller Solutions   The Yamaha Propeller selection page on Yamaha’s webpage is a great tool for every boat owner as a tool not only to make sure the correct prop is on their boat but also gives the ability and freedom to change the prop with ease, depending on the application. Everyone knows the equipment used for bass fishing is not the same for chasing tuna offshore, and the same logic applies to selecting a prop. At … [Read More its Good for You...]


Tiger Woods Opts Out of U.S. Open, Quicken Loans

  Tiger Woods Opts Out of U.S. Open, Quicken Loans By Burt Carey Tiger Woods isn’t ready to stage a comeback just yet. The 14-time major champion sent messages via Twitter and his website Tuesday that he would not be competing at either the U.S. Open at Oakmont next week or the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans tournament the following week. "While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year's U.S. Open and the Quicken … [Read More its Good for You...]


Feds Eyeing a Crackdown on Predatory Payday Lenders

  Feds Eyeing a Crackdown on Predatory Payday Lenders By Burt Carey The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing new regulations designed to place limits on excessively high-interest loans issued by short-term lenders. The CFPB proposal would require so-called payday lenders to prove borrowers have an ability to repay a loan by the time it comes due – usually by the borrower’s next pay period – without having to renew the loan or take out a new … [Read More its Good for You...]


Delta Becomes Airline Industry’s Leading Edge for Good and Bad

  Delta Becomes Airline Industry’s Leading Edge for Good and Bad By Burt Carey Last week’s airline news flash was a huge splash by Delta Air Lines that its in-flight entertainment system would become free to domestic and international passengers beginning July 1. That put the Atlanta-based airline back on point, leading the industry down a supposed path toward improved customer service. Earlier this year Delta was again at the forefront of domestic U.S. … [Read More its Good for You...]