Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2013)

What's it about? Grace (Brie Larson) is a supervisor at a foster care facility for troubled teenagers. When she forms a close bond with new arrival Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) it impacts upon both her future and her past.

Is it any good? Yes, it's a heartfelt and well acted low-key drama, which does a good job of imbuing the serious issues at its centre with a lightness of touch, but without trivializing or simplifying them.  Larson, who irritated me immensely in Scott Pilgrim, makes amends here with a strong, unsentimental performance which never feels less than real, as she works though both her issues and those of her charges. In particular, one sequence involving a story about an octopus, is remarkably effective in laying out the complexities of the characters presented. Think of it as an indie version of The Breakfast Club, relocated to a foster facility and imbued with more sincerity, better acting and characters with Complicated Minds. Although it also drifts into rather implausible upbeat territory toward the end.

I don't trust you. What do others think? Well, they loved it. Enthusiastically received on the festival circuit, it struck a chord with audiences and critics alike, who praised it for being the sort of perceptive, compassionate, grown-up drama that comes along too seldom. Not sure it quite deserves the rapturous reception, but then I'm not really a perceptive, compassionate grown-up.

What does the Fonz think? Will probably stick in the Short Term memory





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