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Short Term 12

“Short Term 12 is a deeply memorable film. This modest, low-budget feature set in a foster care facility is well-written, terrifically acted and compelling. It deftly avoids sentimentality and offers a window into the lives of believable, multilayered characters.

“A movie about troubled and at-risk teens could easily fall into a trap, with mawkish inspirational messages trumping a sense of realism. Or it could be too sad to bear. But in the capable hands of writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton, it is insightful, gutsy and mesmerizing. It helps that Cretton worked in a similar place himself.

“Brie Larson is superb as Grace, a compassionate and tough supervisor at a short-term foster care facility for teens. Grace doesn't just oversee the troubled residents; she talks to them openly and clearly cares. But her emotional investment in the teens takes its toll when her own troubled childhood comes back to haunt her.

“Grace has a loving and warm relationship with co-worker Mason, who is also a capable caretaker and an easygoing presence. Though they're only a few years older than their charges, the couple are steady and up for the challenges. Mason and Grace work mightily to help the transition of Marcus, who masks his fear about soon turning 18 and aging out of the facility. Jayden, an angry new arrival, is creative and connects haltingly with Grace. Adamant that her father will soon be rescuing her, Jayden announces she won't bother making any friendships. Underneath her bravado is a wounded girl.

“These kids' anger, loneliness and depression is palpable and sometimes shattering to watch. The youthful performances are natural and unaffected, and consequently all the more involving. Though achingly honest, the film is never overly earnest or preachy. Short Term 12 offers inspiration and redemption, along with grittiness, intimacy and unexpected humor.”- Claudia Puig, USA Today

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