The other day I happened to watch a movie named Shelter. I knew that it was a gay love story, but what I did not expect was to be moved by what is unquestionably a beautiful love story.
The storyline is simple, the actors brilliant and the emotions that the movie evokes are universal. Anyone who has experienced love can identify with Zach, around whom the story revolves.
Zach, an aspiring young artist had to shelve his college dreams to take care of his disabled father and his nephew, Cody. Jeanne, his sister is irresponsible and depends on Zach to take care of Cody while she hangs out with her current boy friend Alan.
Zach works as a part time cook and spends the rest of his time surfing with his best friend Gabe and hanging out with his girl friend, Tori with whom he has an on and off relationship.
While Gabe is away, his brother Shaun comes to stay in their house. Shaun is a published author, who has broken up with his partner and is looking for a place to stay till his new lease starts next month. He is also attempting to find inspiration for his next novel.
Shaun and Zach go surfing together and form an easy camaraderie. Shaun is impressed by Zach’s art portfolio and advises him to go for his dreams. They enter into a relationship though Zach is initially hesitant. Cody also becomes friendly with Shaun. Shaun encourages him to apply for the course at CalArts, a large arts university and even gets him an application form.
Jeanne wants to go to Portland with Alan who has got a job there, but she cannot take Cody. She’s also upset about Zach’s relationship with Shaun since she considers it to a bad influence on Cody. Zach is conflicted and confused and he breaks up with Shaun.
Zach gets a call from CalArts who has accepted his application. Zach realizes Shaun had sent his application and portfolio to CalArts. He also realizes that Cody will be better off with him and Shaun since Shaun cares for both of them. He comes out to Tori who tells him she has always suspected. Later, he apologizes to Shaun and tells Jeanne that he is going to pursue college and his relationship with Shaun. He will take care of Cody but he will not forsake Shaun. Jeanne accepts his decision and leaves.
The movie ends with Cody playing in the beach with Shaun and Zach.
The scenes with Zach and Cody are among the best in the entire movie. It is evident how deeply Zach cares for his young nephew and how much Cody depends on him as a father figure. In one scene, Cody insists to Zach that “You’re my dad,” in spite of Zach explaining to him that he is Cody’s uncle since his sister is Cody’s mom.
The initial relation between Zach and Shaun is also friendly and uncomplicated. Zach and Shaun have known each other since childhood and they have no difficulty slotting into place in the other’s life. Zach’s initial reluctance and confusion as also his conflict after Jeanne’s vocal disapproval are both portrayed well.
The way the movie ends in a positive note with Zach free to pursue his dreams without having to give upon either Cody or Shaun is heart-warming and one cannot but feel but hopeful for the future of both these men.
Trevor Wright is convincing as Zach and Brad Rowe nails the role of Shaun. Among the other actors, the most noteworthy one is Jackson Wurth who plays Cody. We hope these men to end up together as much for his sake as for theirs.
Whether or not you like gay movies, if you are into simple love stories with happy endings, Shelter is a must watch. I have a feeling I’m going to watch it again. And again.