Michael Shannon in 'Take Shelter' (Sony Pictures Classics)

Review: ‘Take Shelter’

Michael Shannon in 'Take Shelter' (Sony Pictures Classics)
Michael Shannon in 'Take Shelter' (Sony Pictures Classics)

In Jeff Nichols’ carefully-composed, immensely powerful, and absolutely riveting ‘Take Shelter,’ Michael Shannon gives a towering performance as Curtis LaForche, a loving husband, doting father, manual laborer, devoted son, and all-around good guy who fears that he may be losing his mind.

Merely because of his physical bearing, Curtis presents an intimidating presence. His countenance is stolid, almost stern; his gaze is often impenetrable. Yet he’s a gentle giant, attentive to his wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain) and six-year-old daughter Hannah (Tova Stewart). He deals lovingly with Hannah, who is hearing-impaired. As is often the case, Samantha is more adept at communicating with Hannah in sign language than Curtis is, yet he doesn’t allow any frustration he may be feeling to become manifest.

In fact, Curtis appears to be an expert at bottling up his emotions. He has begun to have troubling nightmares, but he is not the sort of man who will readily share any inner turmoil he may be experiencing with his wife, or even with his best friend and co-worker Dewart (Shea Wigham). Instead, Curtis contains his emotions, and goes about his daily work, and cares for his family, and his personality begins to resemble a kettle of slowly-boiling water. Tiny bubbles begin popping up, and Curtis does his best to let the air out, to calm his interior waters, to defuse the tension that he feels building within his veins, but the temperature keeps rising and the nightmares begin to spread into his everyday life and the damage starts to escalate.

— From my review at Twitch.

Take Shelter’ opens today at the Landmark Magnolia and Angelika Plano.

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