Wonderfully written and directed by Destin Cretton (I Am Not A Hipster), Short Term 12
is actually based on Cretton’s 2008 short film of the same name, which
also stars Brie Larson and several other cast members. Premiering at the
2013 SXSW Film Festival Short Term 12 won the Grand Jury
Narrative Feature Award and the Narrative Audience Award, and has since
been nominated for several Independent Spirit Awards. It is a sincere
film that is full of life, with fantastic performances and arresting
drama that provokes almost every emotion imaginable from an audience.
Infusing well-suited humour, and without overdone sentiment, Cretton
beautifully balances the uplifting and the heartbreaking in an authentic
telling of tremendously moving human stories.
So observant is this study of the relationship between caretakers and
residents at a foster-care facility that you leave questioning whether
Cretton has had some experience in this environment himself.
Extraordinarily, he has worked in a facility like the one he depicts,
and has actually drawn influence from his personal encounters. It is a
film about the emotional and physical scarring suffered my many youths,
and the role these facilities (and passionate supervisors) play in
offering a safe environment for temporary refuge and in helping to ease
them back into society.
Grace (Larson, 21 Jump Stree
t) is a twenty-something
supervisor of a Southern California foster-care facility called Short
Term 12. She works long, tough hours as a nurturing and counseling
presence for damaged and at-risk teenagers and provided leadership for
her colleagues (some of whom are experienced, others we join on their
first day). She loves her long-term boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jr, The Newsroom
who also works at Short Term 12, and their mutual understanding of the
line between their professional and romantic relationship is one of the
many charms in the film. These two are perfect for one another, and it
is obvious. Over the course of the film Grace will be forced to deal
with a mounting series of personal anxieties that have been bubbling
beneath the surface as a result of some unexpected recent news and the
arrival of a new girl Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), whom she closely relates
to. This begins to affect both her relationship and her profession until
she is forced to take on her own advice.
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