Take Shelter (2011) Film. Director : Jeff Nichols

Curtis LaForche lives in a small town in Ohio with his wife, Samantha, and daughter, Hannah, a six-year-old deaf girl. When Curtis begins to have terrifying dreams, he keeps the visions to himself, channeling his anxiety into obsessively building a storm shelter in his backyard. His seemingly inexplicable behavior concerns and confounds those closest to him, but the resulting strain on his marriage and tension within his community can’t compare with Curtis’s privately held fear of what his dreams may truly signify.

Take Shelter features fully realized characters crumbling under the weight of real-life problems. Using tone and atmosphere to chilling effect, Nichols crafts a powerful psychological thriller that is a disturbing tale for our times. —Sundance Film Festival.

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Curtis, a father and husband, is starting to experience bad dreams and hallucinations. Assuming mental illness, he seeks medical help and counseling. However, fearing the worst, he starts building an elaborate and expensive storm shelter in their backyard. This storm shelter threatens to tear apart his family, threatens his sanity and his standing in the community, but he builds it to save his family’s life.(Imdb)

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Jeff Nichols went around the film festivals with his latest work, Take Shelter. First screened at Sundance in January, it was then presented at Cannes, where it won the Critic’s Week Grand Prize, at the Toronto International Film Festival and many others. This only goes to show how promising of a director Nichols is.

In Take Shelter, we step into the life of Curtis (Shannon), a construction worker leading a quiet and happy family life with his wife Samantha (Chastain), and their six-year-old daughter Hannah (Stewart), who is deaf-mute.

Husband and wife live in perfect symbiosis and are learning sign language along with their dearest daughter until they can find a solution to her hearing problem. Everything is fine until Curtis starts having dreams of an impending apocalyptic storm, which quickly turn into nightmares and begin gnawing at his everyday life, mental and physical, in such a distressing manner that he becomes paranoid about the people surrounding him and the safety of his household.

Torn between his fear of mental illness and his catastrophic premonitions, Curtis decides to build an underground shelter in his yard, against his entourage’s better judgment. In a few days span, this shelter becomes the obsession that estranges him from his friends, work and family.

Nightmare or premonition? Is Curtis mentally ill or are the people around him simply blind? Those are the questions that haunt the spectator until the end. With Take Shelter, Nichols demonstrates a great ability to juxtapose opposite climates. Without foreboding the viewer is thrown back into Curtis’ dark, unsettled mind, and forth into his quiet and stable surroundings. The director’s use of special sound and visual effects is equally perfect in the sense that they help create an atmosphere of horror and tension, without overtaking the entire film.

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