Heartfelt, compelling, authentic, and visceral in its emotions, Short Term 12 is an amazingly impacting film. The story follows Grace, a young 20 something woman who works as a supervisor at a home for at-risk teens, along with her boyfriend. It is through Grace that we see the tragedy of the youth's lives, the anger, depression, confusion, and yet the hope that still abounds. It's a film of sadness, but also of love.
Too many films along similar lines have resorted to clichés or forced storylines to tell their story. This is not true of Short Term 12, which has an emotional intensity that is rare, and does this without melodrama. The characters in this film are treated with respect, not idealized or pitied, rather they are shown as what they are, we see the different coping mechanisms employed, while also understanding the underlining issues at hand. The family dynamics, and the dynamics amongst the youth feel real and organic to the story. The script is both finely written and poignant, delivering us a snap shot in a world that is hard to really face, but one that rings true.
The film is populated with fantastic performance, headlined by Brie Larson, in a role that should certainly serve as a launching point for her career. The direction, the pacing, the script, all are pitch perfect in a film that unfolds within itself without the use of gimmicks or plot devices. It's a methodical burn without being slow, subtle without holding back.
A must see.