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Generally favorable reviews- based on 162 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 162

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  1. Oct 2, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is an incredibly good film which I absolutely would NOT recommend to everyone. It's a remarkably sensitive portrayal of a family dealing with paranoid schizophrenia over a couple of generations. I don't think I've seen Jessica Chastain or Michael Shannon in a better role, and that says a lot because I think each have done outstanding work (Revolutionary Road, Boardwalk Empire, The Help, Tree of Life). I also have to mention Shea Whigham. He's such an effective actor - brings so much to every movie he's in, including All the Real Girls, Boardwalk Empire, and The Bad Lieutenant: PONO. Loved his take on Shannon's best friend. Expand
  2. Feb 4, 2012
    A masterful film with subtle direction red hairings and a multitude of suspense. The director slowly build his suspense throuought the film until it's climax. However after the climax comes a revelation that is not only startling but also intriguing. This event causes one to rethink everything he has just saw. I thought WOW!
  3. Nov 7, 2011
    Take Shelter is an amazing mystery of a film with outstanding performances by Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. Director Jeff Nichols keeps his film tense and disturbing all the way through. He lets the madness slowly start to come in until it kicks the door wide open with brutal force. The film is a true battle between reality and fantasy, and Nichols creates the perfect mixture of suspense, drama, and insanity to feed it. Take Shelter is a horror film unlike any other because it has nothing to do with monsters or ghosts. Instead this film allows a feeling of terror to overwhelm us that is familiar and much closer to home.

    Curtis LaForche (Shannon) is a hard-working father and husband who lives in a small town in Ohio. Samantha (Chastain) is his beautiful wife who you can tell is completely in love with him, and they have a young daughter named Hannah (Tova Stewart) who is deaf. They live paycheck to paycheck and most of their money is spent on their daughterâ
  4. Nov 15, 2011
    This is a masterfully made movie- the acting is spot on, the writing is great, the cinematography and special effects are both wonderful especially considering the small budget- but what makes this movie great is that it really has a human feel to it. This movie precisely depicts the raw human emotion experienced by loved ones when dealing with mental illness. Truly one of the best of the year!
  5. Feb 22, 2013
    A very important movie about the financial problems of our days (not just in America, but also in Europe). It is also a movie about the importance of family (the only shelter that can protect you). Brilliant performances from all cast members. Highly recommended.
  6. Nov 6, 2011
    A haunting, well acted and near flawless meditation on our national anxiety. The pitch perfect tone and pace invite the viewer to participate fully, and have a stake in the proceedings. Rich, rewarding and worthwhile.
  7. Lyn
    Jul 4, 2013
    Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. Or in the case of Curtis, that scary storms aren't out to get you. This is a small film but with superb acting that understandably won't appeal to everyone. Pace is deliberate, to say the least. and not that much really happens. It truly will grip and haunt you if you know someone who's struggled w/ mental illness thanks to brilliant portrayals by Shannon, Chastain and Baker. And you'll want to talk to someone about the ending! Expand
  8. Oct 21, 2011
    Heard this movie did an incredible job of visually depicting his growing madness, and I wasn't disappointed. Excellent movie, excellent acting, found a few soft holes in the script, especially the interaction with his brother, but all in all a very good film. Great camera work.
  9. Feb 19, 2012
    I must say, this film took me by surprise. Its slow pace, haunting, strange and heavy ambiance makes it slightly tough to watch, but increasingly addictive the more you do watch it. I cannot say more. It's a must see for anyone with an open mind and taste for originality.
  10. Feb 14, 2012
    Excellent. If you enjoyed Donnie Darko you will enjoy this. The ending, whilst confusing at first, makes sense when you think about it. A very very enjoyable movie.
  11. Nov 22, 2011
    There is masterful filmmaking at work here, this is true. Cinephiles will love the cinematography, editing, and what may be at one point an homage to Magnolia. You'll know what I mean when you see it. To address the criticisms, or at least to elaborate upon what they are alleging is something which "undoes" film via its ending, I should first point out that this film is not about an entire family. It's about a particular man's relationship with his family. Where there are complaints that he does not 'connect' with his daughter, or that we do not see her characterized with as much depth as the other primary actors, misses the point. Her characterâ Expand
  12. Mar 14, 2012
    Woah... No idea where that came from, but it is of an impeccable quality. Cinematography is gorgeous (once more, Jessica Chastain receives lighting like nobody else), Michael Shannon is breathtakingly solid, and I've been in some moments completely freaked out. Unquestionably, something grandiose happens in these 120 minutes. May seem a bit long and tedious in the middle, but trust me, it deserves that you hang on till the end. Expand
  13. Nov 29, 2011
    Take Shelter is one of the most poignant and disquieting films Iâ
  14. Jun 23, 2012
    Great movie! I started to believe that the main character was going crazy. I started feel the pain he was going through. I felt scared for his family members, and when you think what the movie is about. They have a twist at the end of the movie! The movie isnt for everybody, it is "Slow" but, I enjoyed the story to develop slowly.
  15. Oct 29, 2011
    Similar to Polanski's "Repulsion", this is a psychological tour-de-force, but on a grander scale. In contrast, Chastain and Shannon's performances are beautifully-restrained, with the exception of a couple appropriate scenes. Though everything wasn't perfect - the VFX (birds) were questionable, at times - the acting was spot-on and the sound cues/music set-up the dread perfectly. Frankly, I loved the story. If you haven't read a lot about it, leave it that way until you've seen the film. To me, the greatest scene wasn't the ending, but the scene where Shannon warns the community about the pending storm. Not since "There Will Be Blood" was there that much intensity in a scene and it was invigorating to see it on-screen. For those that don't like this or "Drive", they don't appreciate great direction. Don't miss this one, especially in theaters. It's quietly disturbing. Expand
  16. Nov 2, 2011
    Part midwest drama, part horror flick, and part apocalyptic epic, the independent film Take Shelter, by newcomer writer/director Jeff Nichols, has somehow managed to fly under the pop culture radar. This is not to say that critics haven't taken notice. This small film has been lapping up awards at film festivals such as Cannes, Sundance, and Toronto and, in my estimation, it deserves every one.
    The film introduces us to Curtis, played by Michael Shannon, a loving father and husband who has become plagued with dreams of a coming storm. Fearful that he might have inherited his mother's schizophrenic behavior, Curtis walks a paranoid line, preparing for catastrophe while questioning his own sanity. It's a modern day tale of Noah and his Ark.
    What makes this film stand out is its subtlety. There are plenty of blood-chilling moments, but unlike modern horror flicks, we are not berated with the obvious or the gory. The nightmares are just as haunting as they are disturbing.
    In addition to this, the story of Curtis and family, living a simple midwestern life, is also engaging. The characters are real and you can feel a real emotional connection in this drama.
    Because of all of these things, as well as a few surprises that I won't mention, I consider Take Shelter to be the best film I have seen this year. I do not expect it to remain unnoticed among the general public for much longer. The clouds are building. Soon, the storm will break.
  17. Nov 12, 2011
    Simply moving film. From beginning to end the entire audience was silent and engrossed in what was happening on screen. Michael Shannon did an incredible job, as always. My only fault was the pacing. I felt it worked for the movie, and speeding things up would have only hurt, but it was still slow and drawn out.
  18. Nov 15, 2011
    Great acting by Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain accompanied with great storytelling by Jeff Nichols makes this movie one the year's must sees. Also a subtle but wonderful score, which intensifies the suspenseful moments even that much more. This movie will stick with you for a few days, it's that good!
  19. Jun 9, 2012
    This doomsday psycho-drama is a precious gem from indie director Jeff Nichols, boosted by an extraordinary acting impetus from Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain pair. A working class point-of-view towards the Armageddon has been laboriously concocted through an ordinary worker's psychosis degeneration and the clashes between him and the mundane world. Comparison with last yearâ
  20. Jan 29, 2012
    What an outstanding movie it was, i was looking forward to watch it from the very beginning. I must say this is a good psychological drama which feels quite appropriate in a sense that the family portrayal is quite real and all of it looks close to the reality. Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon performed superbly, few times it stumbles a bit but overall good movie.
  21. Feb 15, 2012
    Curtis has a good life: a loving wife, a daughter and a job with decent benefits. His nights as of late have been sleepless. Inescapable storms and faceless people linger threateningly in his dreamscape. He awakes, short of breath and covered in sweat.

    Nothing is quite as frightening as the sight of a tornado cloud. No matter how far we run, a storm cloud will cover the distance. It is as
    if God's fury is actively playing out against us. If a storm were to hit tomorrow Curtis and his family would have no place to hide. Leaving his family in a gulch is no substitute for a storm plan so Curtis takes steps to update the shelter he has out back. It may cost some money, but they can't go without.

    As plans are made without consulting his wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain) everyone around him begins to worry. Loans are signed, money they don't have is spent on plywood. His mother slipped into psychosis at a similar age, is he going already? Mental illness or not, he won't give up his family. He can't be losing his mind, he's just providing for his family. To add to Curtis's distress, he can't seem to separate his dreams from reality. The editing of Take Shelter seamlessly blends the horrors of Curtis's nightmares with the minutiae of work, signing lessons and Lion's Club dinners.

    Michael Shannon is a revelation as a man unraveling at a frenzied pace. He is primarily a character actor, but given a leading role in Jeff Nichols's second effort he mesmerizes. The pain in Shannon's eyes as he finds himself apologizing for one thing after another breaks your heart. The odds are unlikely of Shannon and Fassbender garnering Oscar nods, but one can hope.

    Speaking of great performances, Jessica Chastain hands in yet anotherâ
  22. Mar 14, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Take Shelter is simply the best movie of last year.
    First of all, the couple Shannon-Chastain is irresistible, with, as usual, a breathtaking performance by the one that use to date Eminem's mom in 8 Miles. Jeff Nichols shows us once more that he definitely a director to have a look on for the future, i'm thinking if he keeps doing on such great pieces of art, he'll become popular and brillant such as Nolan or Lumet !

    Last year dramas were not specially good i think (example : Shame), with predictable plot, nothing happening.. Well, if you're thinking as i do, go ahead and have a look at Take Shelter, a movie you can't even describe.

    During the movie, you can't tell whether Curtis (Shannon) is becomming a fool, or if an apocalyptic tragedy is about to occur. And that's all the 'magic' about this one. Curtis coworker and friend, Dewart (Shea Whigham) is here to make us wonder about Curtis as he follows Curtis' fall into madness. It's like Dewart's character was made to remind us that an apocalypse would never happen, trying to get this idea in Curtis' head, in vain.

    Now i'm going to stop writing about Take Shelter, cause i don't want to spoil anything for anyone but i'm gonna end by saying that Nichols' movie deserve all the critical acclaim it have had since his release.

    9/10, JohnW67.
  23. Sep 1, 2014
    Take Shelter is a thriller that doesn't utilize scare tactics, but instead terrifies us with emotional dread and an enthralling story. Michael Shannon gives the performance of his career, alongside strong newcomer Jessica Chastain.
  24. Jun 22, 2012
    This movie I wanted to watch a long time ago. The right time came and I watched it. I enjoyed the whole movie, from the beginning to the end. It lasts 2 complete hours, more than enough to make me fall asleep. Moreover I knew it was a very slow moving. But it didn
  25. Aug 10, 2012
    Powerful, with an overwhelming sense of dread throughout as you watch the protagonist slowly descend into madness. Keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and doesn't reveal its cards until a ridiculously shocking conclusion.
  26. Dec 6, 2012
    One of the best films of 2011. A brilliant film in every way. Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain give Oscar caliber performances in this emotional drama. The last 30-40 minutes are some of the most intense I've ever seen. I absolutely loved it!

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Nov 21, 2011
    Terrific. Michael Shannon delivers a fractured everyman who'll stay with you long after the final frame.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Nov 6, 2011
    All in all, Nichols ends up with a richly drawn, and at times disturbing, portrait of one man's descent into madness.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 28, 2011
    Shannon's powerfully imploded performance ignites one of the best films of the year.