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381 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 27, 2008)
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$272.87 $121.90

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

The feature-film debut from art director Jonah Markowitz (Quinceañera) pivots on the tension between responsibility to family and responsibility to self. Recent high-school graduate Zach (Trevor Wright) has one summer to reconcile the competing halves of his life. The aspiring Picasso lives in blue-collar San Pedro with his irresponsible sister, Jeanne (Tina Holmes, Half Nelson), her five-year-old son, Cody (Jackson Wurth), and their rarely-seen father. Zach gave up his art school dreams to toil in a diner and help look after his much-loved nephew. With his best friend, Gabe (Ross Thomas), away at college, Zach draws, surfs, and skateboards by his lonesome. When Gabe's novelist brother, Shaun (Brad Rowe, Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss), returns to his Orange County home to recover from a broken heart, he and Zach alternate between riding the waves and encouraging each other to pursue their aspirations. Shaun is gay, while Zach appears to be straight, but a casual kiss between the two soon leads to a secret relationship. Before the former returns to Los Angeles, the latter has to decide who he is--gay, straight, artist, cook, uncle, or father--and what he's going to do about it. Except for the location shooting, this low-budget indie plays like an extended episode of The O.C. what with all the "bro"s and "dude"s and love scenes tame enough for network TV. Nonetheless, Markowitz’s heart is in the right place, and Shelter may provide some real-life Zachs with the courage they need to follow their passions. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

Audio commentary
Music video(s)
Featurette: Shot on the backlot

Product Details

  • Actors: Brad Rowe, Tina Holmes, Mat Bushell, Trevor Wright, Ross Thomas
  • Directors: Jonah Markowitz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Ryko Liberation
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2008
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (381 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013D8LCW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,462 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shelter" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

182 of 188 people found the following review helpful By John Frame on May 16, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm previewing "Shelter" for the Brisbane Queer Film Festival where it screens on Saturday 24th May 2008. "Shelter" shines as a film with huge heart, and one that's been made with equal care by the actors and all of the film-makers.

It's not at all like the angst-ridden abomination of a gay surf flick "Tan Lines". In "Shelter" surfing is simply a fact of life element - it's not used or abused as a device.

"Shelter" is a beautifully edited, spectacular looking and luscious sounding film which is definitely character driven. Each of the main characters is carefully developed so that we quite soon decide that we really do care about Zach, his young nephew Cody and Zach's love interest, Shaun. We want things to work out for them.

We understand that Zach is in a bind - he's allowed himself to be the physical and emotional anchor for a progressively more dysfunctional family, but we know that he deserves much better life options. The writer and director of Shelter has done a fantastic job - not a look or word is wasted, and yet the whole pace of the film is very relaxed.

"Shelter" deserves every accolade that any individual or Festival might care to bestow.

Straight audiences must find "Shelter" to be equally rewarding. The film's theme is, after all, about love, honour and commitment. What could be more wholesome than that?
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246 of 261 people found the following review helpful By Drew Odom on April 4, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Pure being," a friend of mine once said enviously of the surfers riding the waves along the Southern California coast some thirty years ago. Though there was a strict demarcation between the gay section of the beaches and those parts that belonged to the surfers alone, even then a few surfers hung out at night in the Breakers or one of the other gay bars along Highway One, especially in Laguna. There, what seemed so easy a life out in the Pacific, just following the next big waves one after another, became less obvious and more conflicted. Stories about coming out have so dominated many gay films that the theme has developed into an archetype, a genre of its own with endless variations: from dark into light, from secrets into revelation. In Shelter, Zach is a young artist who has turned down a scholarship at CalArts in order to stay home to care for his nephew Cody. Zach has inherited the family gene, from his mother he says. All the concerns and nearly all the love the five year old Cody should find in his mother, Zach's sister Jeanne, he gets from Zach alone. Zach has had a long time girlfriend, but everything about their relationship is tentative, on hold. When he meets his best friend's older brother again after several years, they surf together, just as they used to. But Shaun is an openly gay man who has published a novel which Zach has read. Shaun's sexuality is no secret to Zach, but Zach's is to Shaun--as it may still be to Zach himself, at least in the sense that he has never before been with a man (or in all likelihood a woman; his responses to his girlfriend are mostly tepid, except when his real longings frighten him). What Zach wants more than anything are family and love. After a night during which he and Shaun kiss, Zach is happy but its meaning is still uncertain.Read more ›
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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful By L.T. on April 9, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What a WONDERFULLY romantic film! Like the other reviewers before me, I was besotted by the film. This is definitely one of the best gay themed movie to come in a long while. Production values, acting, actors were all top notch. Definitely something you would keep as a collector.
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68 of 81 people found the following review helpful By JUST A REVIEWER2 on June 6, 2008
Format: DVD
.........Some "Childhood Fantasies" can come true ) (alternate review title). Oh, about even a 2d alternate title: "Who do YOU think was holding that Video Recorder?"

((Here is my approach to obtaining/viewing/reviewing Gay tales in film form (you could see it as seeking the holy grail of that genre, or as looking for the "Addictive Film"---that movie one returns to time and again). Selection and purchase of a film to view is based mainly on finding new releases by favorite directors/screenwriters and/or on comments/reviews by others of you at major online sites. Re the latter, sometimes I feel correctly steered by you (the "Keepers" filling my DVD shelves), other times mislead, occasionally badly (the "Throwaways"----and I do toss 'em). Rarely, I come across the "Addictive," those I can re-watch at least every couple of months or so (see below starred *** area for a list......and for some of the "near-Addictive" as well). For some movies, I'll share a full review with you, as follows for this film. Thanks for sticking with me so far.))

As a preface to all this, I'm not interested in telling the story here; I'm into telling 'about' the story here. And that's easy because the gay relationship part of it is one of the best on film and DVD today.

First off, it's got to be said that, whether one's straight or gay (except for those already "out"), putting yourself "out there" for this type role has got to be an extremely difficult decision. Why? Because people in our backward and selectively puritanical society are going to make assumptions about you for doing so---whether they be correct or incorrect. Bearing this in mind, Director Markowitz was surprisingly fortunate in obtaining the acting services of both a Trevor Wright and a Brad Rowe.
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Topic From this Discussion
Why Such Overwhelming Customer Approval of "Shelter?"
Shaun's quiet nod at the end when Zack tells him that "he changed" sums up Shaun's character. Shaun in a blink of an eye has a ready made family. The vibe I got watching is that he (Shaun) was very happy with his new life.
Zack most likely left his portifolio in his confusion of... Read More
Jun 11, 2013 by rosemary |  See all 15 posts
No subtitles at all.
Jul 21, 2009 by Diego Castro A. Santos |  See all 3 posts
The Soundtrack for Shelter
will the entire soundtrack be sold on regular cd so that i can have a back up copy of it instead of just on itunes?
Jun 29, 2008 by Trinity |  See all 8 posts
Your Fav Scenes! (*May contain Spoilers*)
I'm with you on all three counts! #3 absolutely blows me away every time I watch it. It's always great to come across others who caught this moment as well. The look on Zach's face really emphasizes what superb acting is all about.

Shelter has to be one of my top films because nearly every... Read More
Apr 5, 2010 by martin j. |  See all 10 posts
movie no longer in production
I agree with you. I'm kinda mad that they don't have it anymore. I've been looking everything and nowhere to be found. :(
Feb 15, 2010 by Leandro Moronta |  See all 13 posts
How about a gay romantic comedy in a coffee shop? Be the first to reply
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