Quite rarely am I left speechless after watching a movie, however, after watching “Short Term 12,” I have to admit it. I was speechless.
Writer and director, Destin Cretton’s debut feature film, which is based in part on his 2008 short film of the same name, is an incredibly thoughtful and heartfelt film.
Brie Larson, from “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” stars as Grace, a supervisor at a foster care facility. The film follows her and her co-workers’ trials and tribulations that occur both at the facility and in her personal life, ranging from her coping with her abusive past to her complicated relationship with her co-worker and boyfriend Marcus, played by John Gallagher Jr. of “Jonah Hex.”
The film marks Larson’s first starring role after being a supporting actress in “21 Jump Street” and this year’s hit, “The Spectacular Now.” Short Term draws strong performances from all of its cast members, especially supporting actress Kaitlyn Dever who plays Jayden – one of the homes’ troubled foster children. Some of the film’s strongest and most sentimental moments come from conversations between Dever and Larson, both of who are in breakout roles.
Cretton’s screenplay is fantastic, and it provides some of the most heartfelt dialogue of the entire year. He won the Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting for the film in 2010, and definitely deserved it. For a new writer and director, he shows an incredible amount of promise and a unique narrative style.
The film’s only flaw is its lack of a true antagonist. Although it’s implied that both Grace’s and Jayden’s fathers were abusive, we never get to experience either of them. Along with this, the film’s pacing seems a bit off because there is never one major conflict. Instead, there’s a series of minor conflicts throughout the course of the film’s run time. Rather than rushing to get its feet on the ground, “Short Term 12″ takes its time and gives its audience ample time to meet, connect with its group of characters.
When all is said and done, this 2013 South by South West Film Festival Audience Award winner for Narrative Feature is absolutely deserving of its title. “Short Term 12” is a genuinely moving look into the life of a group foster home that manages to avoid falling into genre clichés and instead makes its own bold, touching statement.
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