Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 5, 2011
    100
    The film concludes not with a "surprise ending" but with a series of shots that brilliantly summarize all that has gone before. This is masterful filmmaking.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 20, 2011
    100
    Take Shelter, which, it should be said, boasts haunting but seamless visual effects, is a movie for this moment in time, this moment in our lives.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Sep 29, 2011
    90
    A terrifically crafted little movie that bounces off current events and the nation's downbeat mood ingeniously, and that it variously suggests comparisons with the early work of Terrence Malick, Stanley Kubrick and the Coen brothers. Yeah, I think it's that good, but please note that I also said "little."
  4. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Nov 21, 2011
    80
    Terrific. Michael Shannon delivers a fractured everyman who'll stay with you long after the final frame.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 6, 2011
    88
    Here's what I most appreciate about Shannon's work with the writer-director Jeff Nichols: the subtlety.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Sep 29, 2011
    90
    A dazzling piece of filmmaking, and much of the dazzle - as well as the anguished darkness - comes from Adam Stone's cinematography, which expresses the swirling state of Curtis's mind with richly varied flavors of light.
  7. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 29, 2011
    80
    It is a quiet, relentless exploration of the latent (and not so latent) terrors that bedevil contemporary American life, a horror movie that will trouble your sleep not with visions of monsters but with a more familiar dread.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Sep 29, 2011
    100
    As with "Shotgun Stories," Nichols assembles a tense portrait of blue-collar life, while deepening his thematic interests and working on a bigger scale. Burrowing into the subconscious of a damaged man, he delivers a modern American epic with extraordinary restraint.
  9. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Sep 28, 2011
    83
    Writer-director Jeff Nichols re-teams with his "Shotgun Stories" star Michael Shannon for his second feature, Take Shelter, which has a similar setting, but a different mood. Nichols is still concerned with family legacies, and the ways people in smaller communities relate to each other, but Take Shelter is slower and smoother, deliberately developing a mood of creeping dread.
  10. Reviewed by: Bill Weber
    Sep 25, 2011
    75
    It's not easy to give a character study concerning mental illness the aspect of a psychological thriller without some notes of exploitation or trivialization creeping in, and Take Shelter makes a few missteps.
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Nov 6, 2011
    75
    All in all, Nichols ends up with a richly drawn, and at times disturbing, portrait of one man's descent into madness.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 28, 2011
    88
    Shannon's powerfully imploded performance ignites one of the best films of the year.
  13. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 27, 2011
    90
    Not just a fascinating character study but a kind of horror movie as well.
  14. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Oct 27, 2011
    78
    Take Shelter is a deeply unsettling movie. Writer/director Jeff Nichols (an Austin resident and director of the award-winning 2007 feature "Shotgun Stories") doles out information as strategically as a government official.
  15. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Oct 26, 2011
    75
    Take Shelter is paced slowly and deliberately, which is necessary to make believable whatever is tormenting Curtis.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Oct 20, 2011
    88
    Take Shelter plays Curtis's unraveling at daring length. The film will be too slow and dark for some, and it's definitely overlong.
  17. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Oct 13, 2011
    100
    The story of a man afflicted with fearful visions, Take Shelter is a film that's hitting the right apocalyptic trumpet call at the right time.
  18. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Oct 13, 2011
    100
    Taut, unsettling, haunting and powerful.
  19. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 6, 2011
    50
    Take Shelter has a problem, the simplest of all problems but no less serious for its being simple. It's a film without suspense and with a slow-moving story that unfolds without surprise or embellishment.
  20. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Oct 6, 2011
    90
    Writer-director Jeff Nichols maintains a cagey balancing act for much of the movie, refusing to specify whether his protagonist is a prophet or a madman, yet in the end this doesn't really matter: the storm inside him is plenty real.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Sep 30, 2011
    91
    Begins frighteningly and gets progressively more so.
  22. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Sep 30, 2011
    63
    It would be possible to appreciate Shannon's fabulous work in Take Shelter far better if the filmmaker lost a quarter of the two-hour running time -- there are many overlong scenes that make this a needlessly tough sit.
  23. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Sep 30, 2011
    80
    Nichols approaches his subject with thoughtful empathy, and while his themes are enormous - he's addressing no less than the state of our nation - he wisely underplays even the most important moments.
  24. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Sep 29, 2011
    80
    From the first moments of the eerie storm that opens the story, dread is the prevailing mood of this pre-apocalyptic drama - a film very much about this moment in time.
  25. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Sep 29, 2011
    75
    Nichols throws curveballs, but his film is unique and unforgettable.
  26. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Sep 29, 2011
    75
    The economics of star casting aside, what would Take Shelter have been like with James McAvoy or Mark Wahlberg or Jake Gyllenhaal at its center?
  27. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sep 28, 2011
    91
    Writer-director Jeff Nichols builds his elegantly shot, weather-sensitive horror story in waves of tension that crest as if pulled by tempests.
  28. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Sep 27, 2011
    90
    Despite a few missteps, Take Shelter powerfully lays bare our national anxiety disorder - a pervasive dread that Curtis can define only as "something that's not right."
  29. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Sep 27, 2011
    100
    Nichols has said that the idea for the film emerged from a free-floating anxiety that he sensed in the world at large, the feeling that everything we treasure in life could be lost in an instant. That sensation permeates this strikingly original movie - especially its enigmatic mind-fuck of a finale, which will haunt you for several lifetimes.
  30. Reviewed by: Pam Grady
    Sep 26, 2011
    70
    Shannon makes the man's dilemma plain and moving, and that gives Take Shelter a resonance that last long after the final fade out.
  31. 90
    Nichols has a genius for making landscapes and everyday objects resonate like crazy, for nailing the texture of dread.
  32. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Sep 25, 2011
    80
    This deliberately paced psychological drama builds an ever-tightening knot of tension around an excellent Michael Shannon, here playing a family man slowly driven mad by apocalyptic visions that could be paranoid, prophetic or both.
  33. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Sep 25, 2011
    90
    A riveting genre blend of thriller, domestic drama and supernatural horror propelled by a brilliant lead performance.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 163 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 55
  2. Negative: 10 out of 55
  1. Feb 24, 2012
    7
    Perhaps too drowsy in pace for some, "Take Shelter" is not easy to enjoy; it's a ponderously, slow simmer that yearns for one's admiration,Perhaps too drowsy in pace for some, "Take Shelter" is not easy to enjoy; it's a ponderously, slow simmer that yearns for one's admiration, while never losing the viewer's interest. The film echoes a sense of dread and anxiety, channeling Shannon's dark, slightly unhinged, sullen aura, his trademark loomy stature and coarse features; he brings to life a "Curtis" character who is so malleable in his purpose, that no one can tell what's to happen next. Moreover, it feels as if what the audience is seeing has much more depth, as if another layer of subtext is just waiting to show itself. Nichols paints a portrait that is both astounding and riveting to hold on to, grimmacing and shuddering uneasily with anticipation and pent-up apprehension, driven by self-discovery, and down-right frightening in the most eerie of feelings. Although it is Shannon that reels in arguably the best performance of his career, more than worthy of an Oscar nomination, Chastain is incidentally moving, though mostly captured in her spot-lighted contemplation and worry. Notwithstanding near impeccable casting, editing, musical accompaniment, and cinematography, not all will appreciate "Take Shelter" due to its slothlike pace, frustratingly ambiguous, conflicting religious and metaphysical themes and interpretations, and its crazed, schizophrenic sequences. Pack plenty of whitey-tighties, because this one's a nightmare. Full Review »
  2. Sep 30, 2011
    5
    Am I losing my mind? Between this and the critical approbation showered on that dismal turkey DRIVE, hackneyed phrase be damned, 'cuz hereAm I losing my mind? Between this and the critical approbation showered on that dismal turkey DRIVE, hackneyed phrase be damned, 'cuz here it's appropriate - just WHAT are you folks smoking?? As far as this flick, I'll at least spot you the performances in this one... the very busy Jessica Chastain is remarkable; like Julia Roberts, but with talent. And Michael Shannon anchors this thing in a huge way... any suspense generated in this rather ponderous tale is generated by him and him alone. He is somehow capable of generating heartbreaking warmth and a sense of deep menace simultaneously. Kudos to them, but otherwise, this thing takes a loooooong time to travel virtually nowhere. Full Review »
  3. Oct 17, 2011
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This is a mostly well executed movie that is completely undone by its ending, which essentially turns the film into an offensive parody of mental illness. If the hook had been delivered as they emerged from the shelter, it would have worked. But after they spoke with the doctor it crossed the line. Full Review »