Short Term 12


Short Term 12

Critics Consensus

Short Term 12 is an emphatic, revealing drama that pulls audiences into the perspective of neglected youths.



Reviews Counted: 164

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User Ratings: 21,207


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 4.4/5

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Movie Info

I Am Not a Hipster director Destin Daniel Cretton expands his 2008 short of the same name into a feature film depicting the struggles of a compassionate twentysomething contending with some unexpected life developments while working as a supervisor at a home for at-risk teens. Grace (Brie Larson) has dedicated her life to helping kids who have slipped through the cracks of the system. Committed to her job and in love with kindhearted co-worker Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), she's still struggling to make sense of her own troubled past when she learns that her life is about to change forever. Meanwhile, into the facility walks a young girl who's been constantly shifted between group homes due to dangerous behavior. Almost immediately, Grace forges a powerful connection with her new charge. Now if Grace can just open up to Mason the way she encourages her kids to open up to her, she may find a way to make peace with the future while still providing support to the kids who depend on her the most. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Short Term 12

All Critics (164) | Top Critics (43)

  • Set in a foster-care facility outside of San Francisco, this independent drama is vivid and heartfelt in its depiction of social work, at times recalling some of Frederick Wiseman's great documentary portraits.

    Dec 10, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The film's climax feels a little rushed and overwrought, but the movie's real resonance is its exploration of empathy and vocation.

    Nov 15, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • At times Short Term 12 seems uncertain where it's going, but this matches the circumstances of both staff and residents.

    Nov 14, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Well intentioned, but somehow inauthentic.

    Nov 1, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • There's heart, soul and personality to burn in 'Short Term 12' ... But this is a film that, like many of its young characters, desperately needs to calm down.

    Oct 29, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • "Short Term 12" is a sly wonder of a film. It brings you into its unique world and then slowly reveals its characters, letting them unfold gradually, organically.

    Sep 20, 2013 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Short Term 12

A delicate and complex character study that never romanticizes what it wants so say, being instead very down to earth in its approach to show us how an underprivileged childhood can create emotionally fractured adults whose uncured issues won't simply go away with time.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


The foster care system is the most flawed institution in the United States, which is disheartening as many of the children in said system deal with abuse, loneliness, and mental health issues. "Short Term 12" comprises everyday goings on of a facility for kids who live between homes and the street, and the workers who help them. At the crux of the film is Grace (Larson) who leads the facility's workers and helps kids while also dealing with her own life. It's really quite sweet that Grace and her boyfriend Mason (Gallagher) have fragmented childhoods, and so they have to (rather than want to) help ease the pain of these children and the problems they face. In comparison is a college worker who would like to help, but doesn't know where to start. The performances from the child actors in this film are nothing short of astounding. Brie Larson commands complete presence onscreen, as Grace, a multi-faceted basket case who is always trying to do better, but inevitably has to fight her demons. This is a really sweet, funny, heartfelt film dealing with big issues in a sensitive and thoughtful way, which makes it highly recommendable.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Usually I avoid "indies", if specifically promoted that way, but here the plot sounded interesting enough. Barring some of its cliches and forced drama, it was watchable enough, if not interesting enough. Once watchable. Once watchable. In all fairness, 2/5.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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