Friday, September 13, 2013
REVIEW: Short Term 12
Short Term 12
Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr.
August 23, 2013 (LIMITED)
Destin Daniel Cretton
1 hour 37 minutes
In all honesty, there aren't enough words I could put into this review that explains my love for "Short Term 12." For those, and I assume many of you reading this, wondering "What the hell is "Short Term 12?"", allow me to explain: this is a smaller film that won some big awards at SXSW this past March and is slowly being released by indie company Cinedigm across the country. The main story revolves around a twenty year old named Grace and the experiences she has while working in her job at a foster care facility called "Short Term 12." Here is a movie that just needs to be seen in my honest opinion. This film is filled with gut-wrenching emotion, light-hearted and sweet moments, and a very realistic feel to it that just makes the entire thing perfect. Thanks to the script and direction from first time director Destin Daniel Cretton, along with powerhouse performances from the film's three leads, "Short Term 12" is, in my eyes, the best indie of 2013 thus far.
After showing off some of her talent in films like "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" and "21 Jump Street," Brie Larson proves herself to be one of Hollywood's best up and coming actresses with her performance as Grace in this movie. Like Charlie in "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" and Pat in "Silver Linings Playbook," Grace gives off the type of likableness, as well as the type of raw and emotional essence of a human that gives you the ability to put yourself in her shoes. I've been trying to restrain from any awards talk recently due to my excessive use of saying it in the past, but here I can't help it: Larson deserves an Oscar nomination for her work in this movie. She steals nearly every scene she's in, and when she shows off her emotional side, it punches you in the heart. Larson's co-stars John Gallagher Jr. and Kaitlyn Dever are just as impressive as well.
Gallagher plays Grace's supportive and laid back boyfriend Mason, and Dever plays a new addition to the Short Term 12 family named Jayden. Mason is the type of guy you would want to be really great friends with, and the way he gets along with these kids is a beautiful thing to watch. Gallagher gives off the same type of vibes that actor Jake Johnson does, in which he's the joking and likable male lead who you, for the most part, are on the side of. Jayden, like Grace, is a very raw and complex character whom you learn more about as the film progresses. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that Grace and Jayden are almost like the same person, yet both give off two different, but equally as emotional performances. Kaitlyn Dever is one of those young faces who I could see going places after this movie, because for a young actress, she is a true treasure as of now. Everyone, particularly the kids, give great performances, but it's Larson, Gallagher, and Dever who you will be thinking about when the credits start rolling.
I give major props to director/screenwriter Destin Daniel Cretton for adapting his short film into a full narrative filled with heart-wrenching moments and very relatable, but also flawed, characters. The story flows with grace and never misses a single beat. The dialogue is moving and sometimes charming and sweet, which help give the film some air to breathe before descending back into the realm of drama. There are twists that happen in the film that, while hinted at throughout, are shocking, sad, and quite unexpected. It's great when a director has a good eye for filmmaking and a good sense of language that helps make a film's script juicy and effective. Cretton may very well be the best indie director to have come along in a very long time.
All in all, "Short Term 12" is an incredible piece of filmmaking. The acting is top-notch, with Brie Larson deserving some serious awards consideration for her work here as Grace. The script and dialogue are fresh, raw, and genuinely real, giving the audience the ability to put themselves in all of the characters' shoes in one way or another. Destin Daniel Cretton is one of those guys who has an understanding of how how the mind of teens and 20-year old adults work when put into certain situations that include abuse and pregnancy. If this movie is playing at any theater near you, please seek it out. "Short Term 12" is a marvel of a movie, and it's without a doubt one of my personal favorites of 2013.
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