We do not often get a film that comes along that concludes at a note that is even more complicated and interpretative than the creator initially intended. But that’s what occurred with ‘Take Shelter,’ the psychological thriller by Jeff Nichols (‘Shotgun Stories’). As Nichols put it, he had a “quite rigid vision” of how the movie should conclude.
However, as the film progresses, the audience develops their own theories about what they see. According to Nichols, he found the experience both intriguing and satisfying. In this article we will tell you all you need to know about the Take Shelter ending.
Jeff Nichols (“Mud” and an unnamed spin-off of “A Quiet Place”) has made it apparent throughout his filmography that he is at ease with ambiguity. The tales he delivers are immensely fascinating, but that doesn’t mean they always finish with a conclusive explanation of what’s occurring.
That’s the case in “Take Shelter,” an offbeat thriller with undertones of terror. The film closes on a tone that may or may not foretell the approaching apocalypse.
What steps does Curtis take during Take Shelter Ending?
Curtis’ ties with the community, where he was formerly revered, begin to unravel as he becomes more persuaded of the impending catastrophe. Curtis then gets fired and gets into an intense conflict with one of his pals. Eventually, Samantha gets frightened enough that she brings him to visit a doctor, who advises Curtis he should see a psychiatrist.
Even as Curtis’ personal life is disintegrating, he’s simultaneously committing more and more time to construct a shelter that he thinks will give the safety that he and his family need when the storm does come. Although Curtis and Samantha’s relationship is not as strong as it once was, the two continue together, and a storm ultimately comes to LaGrange.
As soon as the storm hits, Curtis and his family take cover in the shelter he’s constructed, but even after the storm has passed, Curtis is hesitant to go outside. Upon his return, he meets with another doctor, who recommends that the family take a trip while it’s sunny. The doctor also suggests that Curtis must be institutionalized when returning.
The three go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where we observe Curtis constructing a sandcastle in the surf. Then, we see a tremendous storm approaching, and Samantha steps out of the cottage they’ve leased and just replies, “okay.”
Does the storm ultimately arrive during Take Shelter Ending?
The Take Shelter Ending may appear conclusive, but there are various ways to interpret it. The storm is genuine. Thus that’s the first and most obvious answer. Everyone thought Curtis was going insane since he was married to a real prophet the whole time the movies were being made.
Unlike the previous storm, which the family sought refuge from, this one is an actual storm. Towards the end of the film’s runtime, Samantha confirms her confidence in her husband as the family braces for the impending storm.
This literal reading of the finale makes “Take Shelter” a narrative of biblical proportions. Curtis is a prophet who sees the end of the world approaching and is finally proved true, even though he confronts many naysayers on his path.
Is the Take Shelter finale an illusion?
There are alternative interpretations of the finale, though, that are significantly less literal. The final portions of the film are merely another one of Curtis’ fantasies in one sense. The storm has appeared again in his mind’s eye, even though it may or may not ever materialize.
It’s also conceivable that Curtis and his family are experiencing collective hallucination. Since joining Curtis on his voyage to the edge of reality, Samantha and Hannah have also made the leap of faith and joined him.
Another interpretation is that a devastating storm is on the horizon, and it’s heading toward the family. That logic is highly Biblical and, by default, brings some magical aspects to the story, which were likely not the filmmaker’s goal.
Regardless of what the finale implies for the planet’s destiny, it’s also worth examining what it means for the family at the film’s core. Curtis’ conviction in his hallucinations separated the whole family, but in the film’s last minutes, there’s a payback for Samantha’s faith in him. In the end, they come to a conclusion on what the future holds, even if that consensus isn’t grounded.