Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 36 Ratings

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  • Summary: Forced to give up his dreams of art school, Zach spends his days working a dead-end job and helping his needy sister care for her son. In his free time he surfs, draws, and hangs out with his best friend, Gabe, who lives on the wealthy side of town. When Gabe's older brother Shaun returns home, he is drawn to Zach's selflessness and talent. Zach falls in love with Shaun while struggling to reconcile his own desires with the needs of his family. (Regent Releasing) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Reviewed by: Grant Butler
    83
    There's real chemistry between the two actors.
  2. 75
    Markowitz 's low key coming of age/coming out story isn't particularly original, but features subtle performances and a vivid sense of place.
  3. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    75
    Features a superb performance in the lead role, a strong supporting cast, very good cinematography and, most of all, emotional authenticity.
  4. Reviewed by: Albert Williams
    70
    What might have been a routine coming-out story is enriched by Wright's accomplished and honest performance, Markowitz's straightforward dialogue, and Joseph White's cinematography of the majestic surf and melancholy sunsets off Malibu.
  5. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    70
    A pleasant romantic drama that works best when focused on the romance -- or on the waves, since the principal characters spend a lot of time surfing.
  6. Actors Trevor Wright and Brad Rowe are good enough to turn a formulaic coming-out tale into a sweet romance.
  7. The script sounds like literal diary transcripts, the camerawork tests the limits of eyestrain, and the soundtrack bleats with mediocre pop songs by unknowns.

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. TrevorK.
    Dec 1, 2008
    10
    This was such an inspiring, well made movie. It was the first movie to make me cry in a long time. (not that it was sad, it was inspiring).
  2. MartinJ
    Dec 5, 2009
    10
    Ditto! This is a movie for the heart that offers its fair share of intellectual rewards. What is particularly amazing is that it takes every trite romantic plot device and delivers them with a sense of intimacy and authenticity. The result is a universal love story about connecting with one's true self while reaching out to others. Expand
  3. Dec 8, 2012
    10
    O filme é ótimo, belíssimas atuações, músicas, roteiro e cenário. Mesmo sendo um filme independente, é perfeito. Quem vê esse filme com certeza nunca esquece. Expand
  4. JohnH.
    Apr 30, 2008
    9
    The two leads are hot, but they both turn in perfect, understated performances. Gay movies are too often poorly written and acted, but this one is a gem. Beautifully shot, and featuring songs by L.A.'s Shane Mack, SHELTER is about as good as it gets. Expand
  5. JeffreyA
    Aug 31, 2008
    8
    The performers were able to make this film trascend its material. Completely genuine characters reflecting completely genuine reactions to circumstances. Expand
  6. DavidS.
    Mar 28, 2008
    8
    A realistic and moving portrayal of coming out for today's teens.
  7. Jul 16, 2012
    3
    Lots of plot holes, like forgetting about Zach's father in the wrap-up and the implausibly compressed one-month timing of the relationship. The characters are oversimplified--Gabe, the girlfriend, and Shaun are perfect in every way (supportive, accepting, hot, good with kids, ...) while Jeannie is flawed in every way (homophobic, depressed, drug abuser, bad mother, unattractive, ...). Zach is deeply in the closet which causes him to be horrible to the perfect three above, but none of them care that he's gay and Shaun's gay anyway--so most of the drama is baseless. It's like the screenwriter forgot to add motivation and the director was hoping nobody would notice. A lot of the film is like that.

    The two leads have chemistry and look good, which is a plus, though by the end I wanted Shaun to have at least one character flaw for interest's sake (he doesn't get any). The first half has a good amount of skin (no nudity), but the second half has almost none. In a movie like this there should be at least one good shot of an attractive shirtless man every ~10-15 minutes, and this movie failed there--but I digress. The love scene is cute. It could have used another, especially considering the script's many flaws.

    As I write this, this is the lowest rating here. I don't know why everyone else likes this movie so well. The guy I watched it with shared my opinion. We later watched the original Starsky and Hutch which has a far better male-male relationship (and offers so many "Ho Yay" opportunities!); we enjoyed it much more. We're both kind of bummed about the lack of good, happy, gay male movies since this one seems to top the lists and yet neither of us liked it.
    Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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