Film Review: ‘Short Term 12’ is an Honest, Emotional Gem

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – There are certain jobs that I know that I could not do not because of the physical requirements but the emotional baggage I would take home with me at the end of the day. The brilliant, moving “Short Term 12” captures one of these jobs – people who look out for abandoned kids, many of them abused, addicted, and troubled the point of pure heartbreak. Especially now that I’m a father, seeing kids abused shatters me to the point where I can’t even watch a movie about it without getting emotional. I’d be a wreck on the job every day. Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

And yet some people take on this challenge and Destin Cretton has used his experience doing so to craft his debut film. “Short Term 12” is difficult to describe without it sounding manipulative or melodramatic but I’ll do my best. Trust me when I tell you that this is one of the best films you’ll see all year. It’s pure, true, and remarkably moving. It’s a special piece of work.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Short Term 12” in our reviews section.

It is Nate’s (Rami Malek) first day at Short Term 12, a facility for kids waiting to find a new home or until they can return to their own. The charismatic but scruffy Mason (John Gallagher. Jr. of “The Newsroom”) is telling Nate a story about a kid who tried to escape. It happens regularly and they can’t keep them prisoner, only try to convince them that they want to stay. It’s a funny story, and clearly one that co-workers Jessica (Stephanie Beatriz) and Grace (Brie Larson) have heard before. This is life at Short Term 12: Funny, kind of dangerous, and totally unpredictable.

We meet the residents and employees of “Short Term 12” through a series of scenes and moments that could be called episodic but those episodes build to a sense of remarkable realism. We believe that little stories are happening throughout the facility of Short Term 12 and so the ones we see have added gravity. The film works on an incredibly powerful emotional current right from the first act due to the honesty of its presentation. There’s a musical performance about half an hour in that ripped my heart apart and it was both because of the truth of what was being expressed and the realization that I was watching a very special movie.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Short Term 12” review.

“Short Term 12” stars Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Stephanie Beatiz, Rami Malek, Kevin Hernandez, Keith Stanfield, and Frantz Turner. It was written and directed by Destin Cretton. It opens in Chicago on September 13, 2013 and will be expanding across the country.

Short Term 12
Short Term 12
Photo credit: Cinedigm

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