Saturday, February 21, 2015

Short Term 12 (USA, 2014)

Nine Things About the Movie Short Term 12

1. This movie hit me right in the feels. It was one of the most overlooked films of 2014.

2. It's about a group of 20-something adults working in a group home for troubled teenagers. One of the workers, Grace, bonds with a new girl, Jayden. Their relationship triggers problems in Grace's past, and she has trouble maintaining the boundaries between Jayden's situation and her own.

3.  It was written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who based it on his own experiences working in a group home.

4. It's a very authentic movie (mostly), and does an excellent job of showing what it's like to work with kids who have slipped between society's cracks, or who have been dealt a terrible situation in life.

5.  While the major focus is on Grace, it is really kind of an ensemble story. The movie follows three adult workers, and several kids. They all are connected in different ways, and the movie does a good job of showing how an incident in one life can reverberate among the others.

6. The acting is superb all around. The characters are believable, realistic, and illustrate life's tragedies without becoming melodramatic. Brie Larson is absolutely amazing as Grace, the adult that's just as traumatized as the kids she works with. She should have won an Academy Award.

7. There is technically a main climax to the movie; but since the story involves several kids in various situations, there are several "mini-climaxes" spread throughout the film as we follow their subplots. The movie swings your emotions from hope to heartbreak several times.

8. This is one of the best illustrations I've ever seen of the difficulty of maintaining a professional perspective in highly emotional situations. It also helps explain why some people are attracted to such a difficult job.

9. Without giving any major spoilers away, I HATED the ending. It betrayed all the realism of the rest of the movie, and it's disrespectful to the troubled kids stuck in the system. The last five minutes should not have been filmed.