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Short Term 12

Updated on March 23, 2019

Short Term 12 (2013)


A 20-something supervising staff member of a residential treatment facility navigates the troubled waters of that world alongside her co-worker and longtime boyfriend.


Written and Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.


Staring Brie Larson (Room) Remi Malik (Bohemian Rhapsody) Stephanie Beatrix (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out)


I remember seeing the trailer for this on YouTube before it went to the SXSW Festival and was like “Oh the hot chick from ‘United States Of Tara’ I’ll totally watch that” a few months passed and it appeared online, I got a hold off it and sat down the next morning to watch it and was just blown away, it’s not a film that executes amazing direction or fantastic visual effects, it’s all about the gripping story and the near perfect performances by relatively unknown or small time actors, it packs more of a punch than you’d think and if I knew it was going to be that heavy I probably wouldn’t have watched it before work because I was a bit taken aback that whole shift and couldn’t fully digest what I’d just watched.


Before you go see Brie Larson in Captain Marvel, go watch this, I would fight anyone that disagrees that this was the turning point of her career, the level of maturity in her acting, the range of emotion, she outshines everyone in every scene, which is quite hard when you see the raw power Lakeith Stanfield and Kaitlyn Dever bring to the film.


With a whole cast of different characters you quickly get to know who is who and what a ride you’re in for, there’s Grace, team leader of the treatment house, life cruising alone quite smoothly until her past starts to catch up with her and make her rethink her entire life’s choices, Marcus, fast approaching 18 and ready to leave the house but with nowhere to go and only his rap music to express himself the world around him slowly starts to close in and take a grip, Jayden the new comer to the house and the hardest kid to open up, buried in her notebook and her music holds the sad key to how she will be able to be helped, Mason, Nate and Jessica, employees of the housing facility that are all different in their own way and help mould those inside in more ways than one with their own take on life.


Writing a film about underage kids with troubled pasts would be difficult alone but adding in additional plots about everyday truths and balancing life’s choices at a young age would be hard, but Destin perfectly juggled these scenarios to create what should have been this generations ‘Breakfast Club’ of sorts, connecting with the 15-25 age range more than most films have and quite possibly ever could, perfectly capturing innocents lost in many of different ways and the fallout of a persons life choices and the small things said in the heat of a moment that can either completely destroy a relationship or open it wide up.


It’s hard to say what my favourite scene would be when the majority of the film is just one heartbreak after another but one standout moment would be when Jayden tells her story of ‘The Shark And The Octopus’ The analogy alone is so well achieved it actually had weight to its existence in the film, the young actress Kaitlyn Dever gives her all in the scene and Brie’s silent reaction to the story is enough to give you goosebumps, without giving away to much I would say it was one of the more surprising tear jerking moments in cinema since the ‘Impenetrable Cloak’ scene from 2005’s ‘Crash’ and of you haven’t seen ‘Crash’ before than get on that too.


Short Term 12 was nominated for a lot of awards at most of the film festivals it went to, winning the majority of them, which doesn’t surprise me, it received a lot of high marks and 5 star reviews along the way, it didn’t make much money at all at the box office, it could be because it was an indie film that did more rounds at festivals than theatres, but it was still profitable to an extent, then it received a very soft almost silent release to DVD and I feel that’s what hindered its running success for those who don’t follow film festival releases and assumed it wasn’t good because it wasn’t advertised before its release.


If you’re like me you will probably take a good ten minutes to reflect on your own life after watching this film and maybe take a few deep breaths to figure out if you’re actually alright with the path you’re on or not, you may wonder why you sometimes get angry when you’re all alone or get sad and even tear up a bit when surrounded by friends or family, but that’s just the emotional impact this film has, and the take away from it is just that, evaluating your own life’s experience and reflecting on those choices that have helped or bettered those around you in ways you probably don’t really know, and for that I would say this is by far one of the most overlooked emotional roller coasters of 2013 that not enough people watched or understood.


Obviously a lot of the main cast have gone on to make big names for themselves or find work in fairly successful movies but its films like this that prove they have earned their success in the industry and didn’t coast by on their good looks or connections to bigger actors, the director Destin hasn’t gone on to massive success but his last film ‘The Glass Castle’ wasn’t to bad and his upcoming film ‘Just Mercy’ sounds interesting, I would say keep your eyes open for that next year when it comes out.


Short Term 12 is by far a great film and I am glad I saw it when I did, it is still available because it’s only been out for just over 5 years, it shouldn’t cost much so go buy it, watch it, let me know what you thought and as always let’s stay a conversation, but one last time incase you didn’t get it from the above review, it’s a heavy film, so don’t go in ready for some good laughs, it has its moments and it does have quite the heartwarming feel towards the end but it’s still a heavy watch.

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