Short Term 12 stars Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and John Gallagher Jr. (The Newsroom) as Grace and Mason, a young couple working together in a juvenile care home. Grace is tasked with guiding the troubled youngsters, many of whom come from backgrounds where they have been abused or neglected, through the trials of growing up, but finds herself unable to be as open about her own feelings as she encourages them to be. (source: screenrant.com)
There are quite a few movies that emerges from the annual circuit of movie festivals, which includes most notably The Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and Cannes Film Festival, with glowing reviews delivered by rapt audience members who, though having witnessed a multitude of films in a finite time period, still manage to be affected by this or that remarkable movie.
But rarely have I seen the sort of lavish and heartfelt that Short Term 12 has attracted, both for the film as a whole and for the woman who anchors it Brie Larson.
Here’s a sample of some of the reviews this impressive film has attracted:
“You care about these characters as workers before you know their histories, which, when revealed, illuminate and deepen them further as people. These reveal moments can be both shocking and touching, but everything fits together like a puzzle, all of the pieces scattered throughout the film finding their place… ‘Short Term 12′ is a roller coaster of every emotion, managing to be both heartwarming and heartrending at once. But what a great ride. [A]” (Katie Walsh, The Playlist)
“Effortlessly balanced… Both the scripted material and the young actor’s delivery produce the kind of hold-your-breath moment more ostentatiously serious films shoot for often and achieve rarely. [Cinematographer] Brett Pawlak’s handheld camerawork and Cretton’s unsentimental direction have a frankness that acknowledges the dramatic extremes in these lives without needing to parade it before the audience.” (John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter)
“[A] meticulously crafted script, designed like an artichoke to reveal its heart slowly as new information comes to light with each scene. Any time the story has a chance to fall back on cliche, it breaks off in a different direction, allowing audiences to be emotionally blindsided by sincere, well-earned moments.” (Peter Debruge, Variety)
(My thanks to screenrant.com for drawing these reviews together.)
It has already screened extensively across the USA and Canada, garnering slots and awards at LA Film Festival and Maui Film Festival in June 2013, Rooftop Films in July, and SXSW in March where it received both the Grand Jury Narrative Feature and the Narrative Audience Award.
Internationally it has received a welter of attention with screenings at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland and Sarajevo Film Festival (August 2013), Hamburg Film Festival (August 2013) and London Film Festival (October 2013).
It opened in theatres in USA in August and hits Australia on 26 December, along with a slew of much-hyped movies such as Saving Mr Banks and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
But I can’t help wondering if Short Term 12, which looks to be about as gritty, real and affecting as film making gets and fulfils cinema’s unofficial mandate to reflect the world as it actually is, won’t be the film that everyone will be talking about into January.