What I should say is, watch this right now! Short Term 12 is a touching, emotional, intense film that tells the story of Short Term 12. A facility where at-risk kids that have been removed from their previous living situations come to stay for at least a year. A community of sorts. The staff mainly comprised of Grace (Brie Larson), Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), Nate (Rami Malek) and Jessica (Stephanie Beatriz) are the ones who are there with the kids day in and out. They know their stories, they know what makes them tick, what might set them off. Even with all their coping mechanisms and strategies, and talk through your feelings advice, they have struggles of their own. Grace and Mason’s relationship is strained by Grace’s inability to open up about her past. Nate is the newbie and boy does he have some adjusting to do with the surprises that greet him each day at Short Term 12 (outbursts of rage, fighting, spitting…) The kids themselves steal the show. They’re absolutely heart-wrenchingly endearing. I just want to hug them all. Markus (Keith Stanfield) is soon to turn 18 and the reality of leaving Short Term 12 is hitting him. Sammie (Alex Calloway) has a lot of emotional barriers to overcome, but he’s trying. Jayden’s (Kaitlyn Dever) history of abuse has brought her to some self-destructive behaviors (and a surprising connection with Grace,)…but as intense as all of this is, the story is uplifting. It’s inspiring. It’s beautiful to be reminded of the power and strength in care and love in this world. People just want to be appreciated and loved and that can change everything.
Short Term 12 was originally a short film, but thank goodness Destin Daniel Cretton made it a full length. This is a beautiful story to be shared. I’ll admit I was originally drawn to the film because of my love for John Gallagher Jr’s work on Newsroom. But oh my! While I’ve been itching to see this one for a while, (and was over joyed when it was added to Netflix,) I had been working up the strength to watch it because I knew it’d make me emotional. I am so glad I finally did. My heart hurts, but in a good way. Not convinced yet? Check out the trailer: