.
short term 12

Short Term 12

Brie Larson, John Gallagher, Jr.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3.5
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
August 23, 2013

Rehab movies nearly always make me cringe, as if the audience needs to take medicine, as if hope needs to be force fed. Short Term 12, an exceptional film in every way, breaks the mold. The setting is GoldDerby, a short-term foster-care ward for at-risk teens. The 20-ish supervisors are like babies themselves. Grace (Brie Larson) seems to have the most control, though she's hiding a pregnancy and a relationship with co-worker Mason (John Gallagher Jr.). Grace and Mason don't treat their charges, there are doctors for that, but they are meant to provide a steady hand for kids on shaky ground. Good luck with that. Moody Marcus (Keith Stanfield) tries to rap out his traumas. Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) is a cutter who wears her attitude like armor. We've seen these characters before, as outlines handled by hacks in bad movies. Short Term 12, written and directed with grit and grace by Destin Daniel Cretton, who worked at a similar facility himself, takes a bluntly honest route to harsh truths. No sugarcoating. That the movie digs deep and gets to you is also a tribute to the actors. Gallagher Jr., so good on stage in Spring Awakening and American Idiot and as Jim Harper on HBO's The Newsroom, excels here by subtly exposing the conflicted core of a character who can't always do the right thing. And Larson (The Spectacular Now, 21 Jump Street) is a revelation, giving one of the year's best performances as she cuts to the heart of a film that means to shake you and does.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “San Francisco Mabel Joy”

    Mickey Newbury | 1969

    A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com