Friday, February 14, 2014

Overlooked Film of the Week- "Short Term 12" (2013)

Overlooked Film of the Week- #44

Short Term 12
"Short Term 12" is the most sincere and most genuinely heartfelt film I have seen recently. I cannot, cannot believe I was not more ahead of the curve on this one. 

As I get into the synopsis for "Short Term 12," you'll probably wonder why I am so giddy about it. It'll sound like a movie you've seen before. The movie revolves around a white girl named Grace (Brie Larson) who works at a foster-care facility for at-risk children. Grace has many problems in her own life and she tries to deal with them by trying to make a difference in the lives of the richly diverse group of kids that inhabit the facility. By the end of the film, the children and Grace have healed one another. Yeah, its sounds like something you have seen before, I know.

But what makes "Short Term 12" rise among the rest? Well for one, this is one the most contextually authentic films about the subject ever committed to film. I guess it helps that director Destin Daniel Cretton actually worked at one of these facilities before becoming a filmmaker. The attention to detail is astounding, and enriches the storyline of the movie. It also helps that Cretton surrounded the film with a great ensemble of wonderful young actors. After seeing "Short Term 12" I am sure you'll wonder who my favorite kid was and honestly, that's a hard question to answer. These kids definitely poured their souls into their work for this film. No matter how big or small the part, each child shines in their role.

I can't get too much further in this review without talking about Brie Larson. I can't fathom how hard The Academy is kicking themselves right now. How could you nominate Meryl Streep for a below-average performance in "August: Osage County," yet completely overlook Larson's work in "Short Term 12." Yes, Larson is that good in this, and I can only hope she'll be this good again. For the lady who starred in "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," "22 Jump Street" and "13 Going On 30." There is a big difference between that list and the movies she starred in from 2013. Her work in "Short Term 12" is a gigantic leap forward in range, and her scenes in this film continually punch you in the heart. She was the soul that kept this whole story glued down tight and she accomplished her mission.

The work done by John Gallagher Jr. should be equally represented as great. Gallagher Jr. plays Mason. Mason is another employee at the facility and has been dating Grace for quite awhile. Gallagher Jr.'s character has got to be the poster child for perfect partner in a relationship and Gallagher Jr. brings him to life well. Mason is constantly turned away and let down by Grace, yet at the end of the day still tries to make her laugh. After putting their own relationship in jeopardy, Mason only continually sees the best in Grace. They share a tender subplot to the film and it was well worth the effort by the actors. 

"Short Term 12" isn't without its dark edges, but the entire ride is well worth the trip. I think it would be in everybody's best interest to check this out, sooner rather than later.  

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