Before getting Oscar attention with Mud, Jeff Nichols made Take Shelter. As it turns out, it's only borderline sci-fi, but does a film that only discusses an SF apocalypse count as SF? I say yes. And there's one way to interpret the film (i.e. literally), where it really does happen. An acting showpiece for Michael Shannon (Man of Steel's Zod), he plays a family man who has dreams and visions about a world-ending storm and struggling over whether or not this is the onset of some mental illness or actual premonitions, he starts screwing up his life to keep his family safe. It's a slow, quiet film, but riveting nonetheless. As a drama that's potentially about schizophrenia, it works. As a metaphor for the economic collapse of the West, it DEFINITELY works. The character's anxieties are no doubt share by many families, and the feeling that something bad is about to happen is only symbolically represented as weather. The family has to deal with poverty, loss of employment, medical bills, and so on. There's been much talk about the so-called ambiguous ending, which even DVD's commentary track featuring the director and star didn't want to address (nor the brief making of, nor the Q&A with some of the actors). So spoilers ahead:
In the metaphor, it tells us the storm is real, whether it's a weather even or not. As a twist, it puts the film in the same category as many sci-fi short stories. At the same time, it's also a comment on a family's cohesiveness, and that familial love and shared destiny that transcends other concerns.