Review: Short Term 12

John Gallagher Jr., Brie Larson and Rami Malek in Short Term 12in Short Term 12

Short Term 12 is an absolutely brilliant film from 2013 starring Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to look for it on Amazon Video or one of your favorite streamers and give it a watch.

Short Term 12 came before Room or Captain Marvel, but shows Brie Larson as one of the finest young actors around. It boasts an equally wonderful performance from Kaitlyn Dever, who has one of the leads in the upcoming Booksmart.

John Gallagher Jr. and Brie Larson in Short Term 12

Actually, this entire film brims with brilliant work. The story centers around Grace (Larson) and Mason (Gallagher) who work in a residential facility for troubled teens. They are a couple; they think no one knows. Yeah, right. Their relationship gets tested in several ways before the film is over.

The workers are very few years older than the kids they supervise. And some of the workers, especially Grace, are as broken and damaged as the teens under their care. That’s what makes them good at what they do. They understand. Well, except for Nate (Rami Malek), who is a do-gooder who gets everything wrong. Stephanie Beatriz also had a part as one of the workers.

The teens who got the most attention in the film were Marcus (LaKeith Stanfield), the runner Sammy (Alex Calloway), Luis (Kevin Balmore) and new arrival Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever).

The rules of the facility were that if the kids ran and made it off the grounds, you couldn’t touch them. You could follow them, but not touch them. Kids ran frequently.

Brie Larson and Kaitlyn Dever in Short Term 12

The nights Jayden ran were particularly dramatic moments. Jayden’s problems with her father triggered memories for Grace. She followed Jayden to her house (twice) and the second time she broke in planning to save her.

Grace could save kids, using only her calm reassurance and caring. She helped everyone under her care. She needed to save herself, too, which was harder.

Short Term 12 was written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. When it was released, it was nominated for 70 awards and won 36 of them! It deserved them! I don’t know why I missed it when it was originally released, but I’m very glad I watched it now. These days, the director is all set to direct MARVEL’s first superhero film with an Asian hero.

Have you seen the film? What did you think of it?

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