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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.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A coming-out, coming-of-age movie that is mediocre and very well-intentioned."
‑ Jim Emerson, Chicago Sun-Times
"Shelter rises very high indeed, thanks to a superb performance by Trevor Wright in the lead role, a strong supporting cast, very good cinematography and, most of all, emotional authenticity."
‑ David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle
"At the epicenter of this tale is Zach (Trevor Wright is always a pleasure to watch but the measure of his acting talent requires a script with more scope to reveal his depth)."
‑ S. James Wegg, JWR
"There's real chemistry between the two actors."
‑ Grant Butler, Oregonian
"Shelter gives hope that gay romances have come of age."
‑ Brian Juergens,
"Shelter may only be shoreline deep, and its ending fanciful, but the film captures the beauty, thrill and ache of young love and extracts a casual joy out of the process."
‑ Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune
"A confused young artist is torn between his family and his future in Shelter, a sensitive romantic drama from the writer and director Jonah Markowitz."
‑ Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"Complex characterizations by Wright and Rowe and outstanding cinematography by Joseph White make this film particularly worth checking out."
‑ Sarah Boslaugh, Playback:stl
"An awkward, phony melodrama you don't need to be homophobic to hate."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"All the muted, oh-so-painful male bonding grows tiresome and predictable."
‑ David Noh, Film Journal International
"Shelter is a gay movie like other American gay movies. Boy meets boy. Boy comes out. Boys fight opposition. Opposition caves. If there's life beyond the closet, too few movies know it exists."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Rowe displays new authority and confidence, as if lately he's been looking in the mirror and seeing himself, rather than that other, more famous blond."
‑ Chuck Wilson, L.A. Weekly
"It feels like it's written by a film school freshman that's trying to be innovative, but everything feels forced and flat."
‑ Austin Kennedy, Sin Magazine
"The first theatrical release from the here! Network's Independent Film Initiative, shaves the edges off the genre's hoariest tendencies, for which it deserves credit and will hopefully be the start of a trend. But it's still an uninspiring drama."
‑ Mark Keizer, Boxoffice Magazine
"In the sweet and sexy romance Shelter, the chemistry between two surfer guys magnetically played by Brad Rowe and newcomer Trevor Wright is so electric, so palatable that even the most ardent nitpickers won't break a sweat over the small stuff."
‑ Randy Myers, Contra Costa Times
More reviews for Shelter on Rotten Tomatoes