Short Term 12
Cert: 15 Year: 2013 Length: 97 mins
Cinema Handout (PDF 107KB)
Score: 60.76% Attendance: 98
The story of young social workers in a half-way, foster house for troubled teenagers does not sound like the background for a popular film, especially when you realise it is made in the USA, not the UK...BUT popular it has been. Doing the tour of festivals this year, it has picked up several awards both for the film itself and the acting, and the Rotten Tomatoes scores from critics and audience are 98% and 94%. So what is the fuss about?
The film follows life in the care home, taking off after a new girl, Jayden, with some major problems, moves in. Run by 20-something year-olds - not much older than the kids they look after - the story of the carers mirrors that of the cared. Two of these carers - Grace and Mason - have the worst-kept secret relationship. Grace has problems of her own, which she has trouble talking about; why doesn't she take her own advice and unburden herself?
Not surprisingly, this is not a UK social-realist film with angst written all over it; the Americans like their pills with more sugar on. But the script get applause for avoiding too much sugar, leading us through the highs and lows of the life of these young people.
Although all the kids get their moments on screen the plot is based around Grace and Mason and it is Brie Larson, who plays Grace, who gets the loudest applause for her acting. Although she has been acting since she was 9, most of her parts have been on tv and in supporting roles. This is her first major part for which she has won major acclaim from the critics ("Incredible" - Charlotte O'Sullivan, Observer)
The writer/director is Hawaiian born Destin Cretton. This is his second film, and it has won him several awards, and high praise too. "Short Term 12 is a miracle of a movie. Beautifully written and perfectly played, all of human life is here: the good, the bad, the messy and the uplifting" - Ian Freer, Empire
He developed the script from his own short film of the same name, but it comes from his own experience as he once worked in a similar home. Is it as good as the reviews and awards suggest? Maybe Michael Leader’s overview on Film4 is more realistic - "Somewhat slighter than the festival raves would have you expect, Destin Cretton's indie flick is nonetheless a wholly affecting, gently nuanced drama - and a portfolio piece for rising star Brie Larson". Let's see what we think.
It's one of the best movies of the year and one of the truest portrayals I've ever seen about troubled teens and the people who dedicate their lives to trying to help them.
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-times
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