With leading roles in the Oscar-nominated Tree of Life and The Help, as well as several highly anticipated upcoming projects, Jessica Chastain has all but taken the film world by storm. One of Chastain’s self-proclaimed favorites, perhaps a film you don’t know much about, is Take Shelter. My favorite aspect of movie-going, something that inspires wonder almost more than anything else, is sitting down to watch something I know close to nothing about, fully open to whatever will meet me on screen. Needless to say, part of the wonder of Take Shelter comes from being unexpectedly taken yourself.
This is a film that echoes the God of the Old Testament and its stories of plagues and great floods, of arks, towers, wrestling matches, and looming destruction. Encountering sovereignty and choice, calling and action, perception and conviction, writer/director Jeff Nichols tells a story that is ultimately about faith and doubt. Weaving these tensions and visions into a story that rivals other recent apocalyptic tales (think Melancholia and A Serious Man), Nichols seamlessly and hauntingly draws you into Take Shelter.
The film asks the questions: What are you going to do with what you see? How far are you willing to go with and for the people you love? How do you know what to believe and how do you evaluate what’s too much in acting on it?
Take Shelter is a story of faith and doubt that invites you to consider your own experience with these permeating life realities. Taken in with this posture, you will continue to think about this film long after the credits roll.