About 30 minutes into Short Term 12, I started crying. I don’t mean “tears welled up in my eyes”. I mean “tears welled up in my eyes and then they started dropping until I had to get a tissue”. This happened because of a particularly poignant scene (that we’ll talk about in a bit), though Short Term 12 is full of them due to the top-notch acting done by lead Brie Larson. Larson is Grace, the supervisor of Short Term 12, a residential treatment facility. Grace is “secretly” dating her co-worker Mason, the goofy and charming John Gallagher Jr. It’s alluded to relatively early on that Grace is harboring some demons of her own, but the focus of the movie doesn’t shift to that until later on. In the beginning, we’re lead to focus on the demons that the kids in the facility face, most notably, Marcus, played by Keith Stanfield with so much heart and believability that you’d think that the character of Marcus’s truth is Stanfield’s truth. Marcus, approaching 18, is set to be released from Short Term 12, which has become his home. This would-be cause for celebration is anything but for Marcus, due to his fear and hatred of his mother. In a heavily emotional and touching scene (the poignant one I mentioned earlier), Marcus runs some new rhymes by Mason. This scene is when I cried. This is the moment I knew this movie was going to be powerful and really affect me.
Short Term 12 is written and directed by Destin Cretten, who also wrote and directed the short film that inspired the full-length feature. Cretten has few directorial credits, including the lesser-known I Am Not A Hipster, but Short Term 12 is definitely his breakout piece. I anticipate great things from Cretten, though he has no upcoming credits listed on IMDb.
Short Term 12 has an 8.0 on IMDb, a 99% on RottenTomatoes.com and a MetaScore of 82. It won the Audience and Grand Jury awards for best narrative feature at SXSW, and the Audience Award at the LA Film Fest. Short Term 12 is available on blu-ray and DVD, and on Netflix Instant.