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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars... "Look into my eyes so you know what it's like",
"Short Term 12" (2013 release; 97 min.) is the story of the people in a youth foster care facility called Short Term 12 (as the kids are not expected to stay longer than 1 year--although we learn that some do). The movie opens with two of the youth counselors, Grace (played by Brie Larson) and Mason (played by John Gallagher Jr.), welcoming a new colleague, Nate. Later on, we learn that Grace and Mason are long-time live-in girlfriend/boyfriend. We then get to know some of the troubled youth in Short Term 12, most prominent among them being Marcus, who is nearing his 18th birthday (the maximum age allowed in that facility) and is dreading to leave. Also prominent is Jayden, a 15 or 16 yr. girl (played by Kaitlyn Dever), who seems very on edge for reasons net yet clear until much later in the movie. Back to Grace and Mason: they try to guide these youth as best as they can, while at the same time they are hitting some rough spots in their own relationship, particularly as Grace learns she is pregnant. At this point we are less than 30 minutes into the movie, and to tell you more would ruin your viewing experience. You'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Several comments: first and foremost, this is a HEAVY youth and relationship drama. Only minutes into the movie (after the laugh-inducing opening sequence where Grace and Mason welcome Nate), we get right away into the thick of things, and it doesn't let up from there at all. Second, there are several scenes that will punch you into the (emotional) gut. When Marcus gets into trouble yet again (for fighting), he takes out his anger by writing a rap song, and sings it, begging the counselors to "look into my eyes so you know what it's like". They can't know, of course. Even harder is the scene with Jayden when she opens up to Grace and tells Grace a child story she made up called "Nina and the Shark", about a shark becoming friends with an octopus. I won't say more, just watch! Third, this is for me mostly a cast of unknowns, and one is better than the other, but I do want to point out Kaitlyn Dever as the troubled girl, she is ace. And then of course there is Brie Larson, who carries the movie on her shoulders. She is the true revelation of this movie for me. Surely we have not seen the last of her. Last but certainly not least, kudos to writer-director Destin Cretton, who made this movie based on his own shortie of the same title of a few years ago.
This movie made quite a splash when it premiered at the SXSW film festival earlier this year, and I had been eagerly looking forward to seeing it. The movie came out recently at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati, and I went to see it right away. So glad I did, as I absolutely love this movie. Even better, the screening I saw this at was very well attended for a matinee, which seems to indicate there may well be a strong demand for this movie. Bottom line, if you are in the mood for a quality indie movie bringing you an excellent youth and relationship drama that is miles away from your standard Hollywood fare, you cannot go wrong with this. "Short Term 12" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small Gem,
A 'home' for at risk teens does not at first glance seem to be the place for a film that explores raw emotions in such a natural manner as this film depicts. The director/writer, Daniel Cretton worked in such a place, and knows of what he writes.
Grace, played brilliantly by Brie Larson, is the chief counselor so to speak. She has her eyes on all the kids, and seems to be able to deal with the emotional and physical outbursts all at once. Her boyfriend, Mason, played by John Gallagher, Jr is also perfect for this job. BTW, Gallagher has a strong role in the HBO series, 'The Newsroom', see if you can figure that one out. Both Grace and Mason come from great dysfunction as you soon learn. The participants in this home all have issues as you would expect. We come into the picture when one of them will be turning 18 and leaving the facility soon. At the same time, a very troubled young woman comes to the facility that takes everyone's time and attention. To use the cliche, 'on a roller coaster' is very true of this film. Raw emotions surface, again and again, and you will find yourself on the verge of tears.
The acting is superb in this film. Each character gives much, and we take it all in. We think we know what some of our fellow citizens go through in their life, but we don't. Many of us are sheltered, and many of us don't want to know.
Recommended. prisrob 01-25-14
5.0 out of 5 stars Indie Gold,
This review is from: Short Term 12 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
It's an absolute enjoyment when you come across a relatively obscure indie film. And Destin Daniel Cretton's drama is a perfect film, something that is criminally overlooked in stores where the bigger budgets matter more and are placed in the limelight of retail instead of substantial films like Short Term 12.
The direction is amazing, the story expresses a positive energy out of a very dark subject because of the theme of hope surrounding this short term care facility and it's damaged inhabitants, including the carers themselves. Brie Larson really shows us how truly excellent she is at acting, and the other cast do too, and along with the direction and the very dark yet bittersweet story, these all contribute to develop a perfect film that has aims at a very wide audience and demographic, only if the film was given more attention than just at film festivals (which allow us to discover amazing films). And, I've said this for a long time; you don't need a big budget to create an excellent film.
4.0 out of 5 stars "Confidential, coherent and veracious...",
American screenwriter, film editor, producer and director Destin Daniel Cretton`s second feature film which he wrote, premiered in USA, was shot on location in the U.S. and is an American production which was produced by producers Maren Olson, Asher Goldstein, Joshua Astrachan and Ron Najor. It tells the story about a woman named Grace, her boyfriend named Mason and their co-worker named Jessica who are introducing a new staff member named Nate to the place where they work.
Distinctly and subtly directed by American filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton, this quietly paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the main character`s point of view, draws an including portrayal of an attentive and committed person whom whilst giving her all to the boys and girls she is protecting is asked to give more in her relationship with her boyfriend .While notable for its dense and atmospheric milieu depictions and reverent cinematography by cinematographer Brett Pawlak and production design by production designer Rachel Myers, this dialog-driven and narrative-driven story about attainably restorative human contact where a guardian meets a girl named Jayden whom by being as she is as a person inspires her with the bravery she needs to approach her own personal matters, depicts an empathic study of character and contains a timely score by composer Joel P West.
This somewhat literary, proficiently conversational and decently humerous drama which is set in America in the 21st century and where a person`s presence in another person`s life causes community, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, virtuously conveyed story about friendship and the internally understated and naturally engaging acting performances by American actresses Brie Larson and Kaitlyn Dever and American actors John Gallagher JR. and Rami Malek. A confidential, coherent and veracious indie.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars,
This review is from: Short Term 12 (Amazon Instant Video)
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard hitting,
This is not an easy film to watch. It's raw and painful, and it covers a lot of very difficult, sensitive topics. However, it does this fantastically well, Brie Larson in particular is fantastic and really carries the movie, more than deserving of the numberous awards and nominations she won for this role, and there's an good ensemble feel to it. It hurts, and a box of tissues may come in handy, but it's definitely worth it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Be warned: no subtitles for hard of hearing,
This review is from: Short Term 12 (DVD)
I agree totally with all the positive things said by other reviewers here about this beautifully made film, so no point in my repeating what's already been said. But for the benefit of those who, like me, have hearing difficulties of one sort or another, I would like to point out that this DVD does NOT have subtitles. The dialogue is a little hard to pick up in places - which didn't spoil the film for me, though - so be aware of this if you are hard of hearing. A lot of "indie" films like this don't have subtitles on the DVD release, because it's not cheap to do, it all adds to the budget overall. But it would be helpful if websites that sell or rent out DVDs were to state whether or not the disc has subtitles for the hard of hearing - or indeed for viewers whose first language isn't English. Lovely film, though. Do watch!
4.0 out of 5 stars No emotion,angry outbursts,
This review is from: Short Term 12 (DVD)
Drama set in a halfway house for kids with troubled backgrounds,the two supervisors Grace & Mason also come from dysfunctional backgrounds which are revealed as the film plays out.
The director had experince of one of these places & alot of what you see is based on what he saw,loud sometimes violent outbursts followed by quiet,where the child would try & explain what was in thier head,but in thier way,somtimes by made up stories.
The film centres on Marcus who is coming up to his 18th birthday & is due to leave.Jayden arrives & has already come from various other homes or halfway houses,she's angry & not keen on making short term friends.Marcus does not want to leave as he obviously has still got many demons,Jayden wants out but life with her dad means more abuse,some with a belt.
All the kids have a maximum time there of one year but Grace & Mason know that they cant allow Jayden to go home to her dad & she is not the only one.
There are no big emotional scenes,by that i mean crying & just when you think it might get sentimental you get wrong footed.The whole film is massively underplayed which makes everything feel raw.
Good performances all round but it's Brie Larson as Grace who steals the show,she is outstanding.Character wise she reminded me a bit of Carol Hathaway from "ER" years ago,can deal with just about anything,a true people person.
Brilliantly acted,understated,underplayed,low budget wins again!! very good.
4.0 out of 5 stars good film. . just not great!,
This review is from: Short Term 12 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Found this film to be a neat little movie , filmed on a small budget with a relatively unknown cast, it carried it's message across very nicely and was handled in a delicate way.
4.0 out of 5 stars Method to the Madness,
Being a support-worker myself i was highly intrigued to see this film by debutante Destin Cretton based on a short feature of his from a few years before. It is an insightful, often moving portrayal of not only the internal struggles of a care-centre(halfway house) but the emotional strains of the carers themselves played by an array of young talent. So kudos to the casting agent.
There is a hard hitting message about the ethics that we apply when making decisions and battling those against the everyday pragmatism and duties we face. Hard subjects are broached and the therapy side of it isn't always tackled but the film shows a poignancy that delivers answers, not always easy, but i believe that no matter what destructive force is at play, just like the movie is portraying we can all come to a resolution or method to the issues at hand.
Brie Larson as Grace is an absolute revelation. Damaged, flawed, angelic and dynamic. At times a role model(one i would still look up to) at other times bringing empathy not only to those in need but to any audience who has worked in the world of care. Not only is Grace’s(Larson) character extremely well-rounded and a window into not only someone who wants to help but someone who is at pain too, most, if not all, of the supporting characters are as well, which is rare for a novice writer.
We are dealing with some deep issues here. The children have a range of experiences from exposure to drug use to physical abuse, not to mention the ardent stress that is simply implied by their current condition. This could, with little effort, fall into the realm of films that are nearly tortuous to endure. Thankfully it does not.
Some may argue corners are cut, or CQC would have a field day at some of the more dubious events that take place and to be honest the sub-plot involving the abusive father does take a turn into some kind of contrived thriller but Short Term 12 is at heart, a cinematic reflection of a reality that is as unpredictable as nature intended it to be. And in this cynical, critical world..thats quite an achievment.
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Short Term 12 [Blu-ray] by Destin Daniel Cretton (Blu-ray - 2014)