Rob’s Review: Short Term 12

Short Term 12 on
Letter Grade:

The Good:

Brie Larson is spectacular
Incredibly touching story that examines the foster care system from both directions
Well-shot and impeccably paced

The Bad:

It took an incredible amount of willpower to wait until the movie was actually over to start tweeting about it

Cast & Crew:

Writer: Destin Cretton
Director: Destin Cretton
Stars: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Stephanie Beatriz, Rami Malek, Alex Calloway, Keith Stanfield, Frantz Turner

Rated R for language and brief sexuality

I’ve gotten terribly far behind in actually writing the reviews of the movies I’ve seen, but after seeing Short Term 12 tonight I have to skip this right up to the top of the list. Short Term 12 is absolutely the best film I’ve seen this year. Everyone should go see it.

Short Term 12 on

*Photo courtesy Cinedigm

Brie Larson, in a role that deserves an Oscar nomination, stars as Grace – a counselor at a foster care facility for troubled teens. John Gallagher Jr is Mason,  her boyfriend and fellow counselor, and  and  are two of the featured foster children.

Short Term 12 is based on Writer/Director  short of the same name, which in turn was based on Cretton’s time actually working in a foster care ward. His intimate familiarity with the subject matter really shines through. You get a real good examination of not just what the foster children go through, but also what the counselors go through in dealing with them, how they take their work home with them, and how the foster children are affected even into their adult years. Both Grace and Mason were themselves foster children and now that Grace is pregnant she has grave doubts about her ability to be a parent.

Short Term 12 on

*Photo courtesy Cinedigm

Brie Larson gives an incredible performance. Grace goes through some real turmoil and Larson is completely natural throughout. She brings real charm and depth to the character. The rest of the cast holds up as well with great performances all around. Cretton got great performances out of his cast and it’s beautifully shot as well.

Short Term 12 even ends on a great note. I found myself sitting in the theater slack-jawed at the perfection of the last scene. It would be really easy for a movie like this to get mired in the sadness, but Short Term 12 strikes a perfect balance. There’s abuse and neurosis, but there’s also joy and catharsis.

Go see this film.

Rob Bernard (108 Posts)

Rob is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Techie of Cinedraft. He hated Million Dollar Baby. And is really excited about the Ender’s Game movie. More About Me