Short Term 12

Director: Destin Cretton, Main Cast: Brie LarsonJohn Gallagher Jr.Rami MalekLakeith Lee StanfieldAlex CallowayKevin HernandezKaitlyn Dever;

short-term-12

Intriguing and insightful story about a seldom visited topic: foster care facilities for at-risk kids (in the US). The audience discovers this world through Grace’s eyes (Larson) and her co-workers. She is a young counselor who has been working for a few years at one of these facilities, she is capable, understanding and very dedicated to her job. Her boyfriend Mason (Gallagher) also works at the same center with equal dedication and kindness, and he does his best both at work and home, being caring and thoughtful with Grace, who seems to be going through a tough time. The audience gets acquainted with the center’s inhabitants along with a new counselor named Nate (Malek), Grace and Mason introduce some of the kids to him: there’s Marcus (Stanfield), who’s about to turn 18 and, therefore, will be leaving the facility soon, Sammy (Calloway), who’s going through a deep psychological trauma, and Luis (Hernandez), who’s easygoing but enjoys bullying Marcus. A new arrival, Jayden (Dever), is clearly quite traumatised and Grace takes particular care of her.  She, however, ends up relating and deeply empathising (maybe too much) with Jayden, due to the particular conjuncture of events in her personal life. Grace will go to extremes to protect Jayden and face her inner demons in the process. Destin Cretton, in this debut feature, skillfully directs a talented young cast without falling into the trap of looks-before-substance, that sometimes dooms a indie film.The hand-held camera work and close-ups of the characters make for good storytelling, enhanced by a lovely photography. The story arc of Grace is very compelling thanks to Larson’s intense, convincing acting, helped along by strong performances of the rest of the cast, Gallagher and Dever especially. I particularly enjoyed the nice touch of Mason sharing a story with Nate at the beginning and at the end of the movie as encouragement and hope for the future. This film turns out to be a little gem, everything an indie movie should be and more.Uplifting and unconventional 8/10

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2 Comments

Filed under Seen at home

2 responses to “Short Term 12

  1. I loved this one. It was one of the more surprising movies for me last year, and it turned out to be one of my favorites when it was all said and done. The film is raw and emotional, but it doesn’t get caught up in the sorrow, still finding time for the small triumphs and the wonderful character moments. The ensemble here is just brilliant, anchored by moving performances from Kaitlyn Dever–story about the octopus=heartbreaking–and Brie Larson, who is one of the best working actresses right now; she did some great work last year with The Spectacular Now and this. Solid 9/10 for me. Great review!

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