Vanessa Hudgens In ‘Gimme Shelter’: How Did She Do?

The reviews are in, and critics have made their decisions about the former Disney starlet.

From Disney starlet to spring breaker, we thought we’d seen every side of Vanessa Hudgens. Well, we thought wrong. It’s time to get ready for something new, as Hudgens’ new flick, “Gimme Shelter,” hits theaters Friday (January 24).

Hudgens headlines alongside Rosario Dawson and Brendan Fraser in the movie, in which she plays a pregnant teen, Apple, who finds herself in even more trouble after being kicked out of her house. She hacked off her hair for the indie role, but did Hudgens pull it off? Here’s what leading critics had to say about her performance.

Saving Grace
“Hudgens has been trying to move past her Teen Vogue image for a while now, appearing in sexy, over-the-top pictures like ‘Sucker Punch’ and ‘Machete Kills.’ Last year’s deliberately sleazy, sneering ‘Spring Breakers’ was the final declaration of independence. ‘Gimme Shelter’ doesn’t go as far as the last film (it was actually shot two years ago). But it already shows signs of the actress Hudgens was interested in becoming, and her skill at walking that razor-sharp line between tender/tough, innocent/guilty.” — Stephen Whitty, Star-Ledger

Nice Try, But No
“The internal change [Apple] has undergone is not credibly conveyed, and the film is more of a pageant than a convincing drama. It’s so determined to deliver its moral that it loses its grip on the reality of its characters.” — A.O. Scott, New York Times

That’s Commitment
“Physically, Hudgens nails her work as Apple, and not just in terms of basic appearance, but in the way she carries herself, the entirety of her mannerisms, her very presence on the screen. She’s boyish, zitty, hunched over, and profoundly closed off. It’s easily the most effective part of the entire film, and it’s a shame that her physical work doesn’t match her line delivery, which starts off wooden before eventually ending up as vaguely passable.” — Kate Erbland, Film.com

A Whole New Hudgens
“Former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens stars as Apple, and she shatters any illusions of vanity in the opening scene. She frantically chops off chunks of her black hair (reportedly her own) with scissors while repeating to herself, ‘I am not afraid. You can do this. I am not afraid.’” — Dann Gire, Daily Herald

Leading Lady Material
“Aside from James Earl Jones and a baffled and uptight Brendan Fraser, Vanessa Hudgens is the only ‘name’ in the film. She is in every scene. She carries the action. Like the famous ‘women’s pictures’ in the 1940s, ‘Gimme Shelter’ is interested in the up-and-down journey of its lead female character: her struggles and triumphs, failures and flaws. Every detail here is right. The piercings on Apple’s nose and lips look infected, her skin is blotched and pimply, and when she gets a chance to eat, she shovels the food in her mouth like a wild animal.” — Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

What did you think of “Gimme Shelter”? Let us know in the comments!