Short Term 12

Out Now On-Demand

Indie drama with Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as Grace, a supervisor at a foster care facility attempting to balance work and a relationship with her co-worker boyfriend. Short Term 12, based on writer/director Destin Cretton's own short film, was a big winner at Locarno International Film Festival 2013, taking four gongs including Best Actress (Larson) and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

"Passionate and tough, Grace is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her charge – and in love with her long-term boyfriend and co-worker, Mason (John Gallagher Jr). But Grace's own difficult past – and the surprising future that suddenly presents itself – throw her into unforeseen confusion, made all the sharper with the arrival of a new intake at the facility: a gifted but troubled teenage girl with whom Grace has a charged connection." (SXSW Festival)


Directed by

Written by



Rating: M Offensive language


Official Site

This quietly wonderful exercise in glorious empathy more than lives up to the rapturous advance buzz it has been generating – it's one of the best American dramas in years. The worthy subject matter (foster care and child abuse) should make the film much harder work than it is. But it just breezes along with a ground level matter-of-factness that thankfully never spills over into gritty verité stereotypes. There's an 'American' quality to its social conscience that I cannot recall perceiving in any other recent film.

Much of Short Term 12's unexpectedly light tone can be attributed to Brie Larson's lead performance. The young actress has always made her presence felt playing supporting roles in films like 21 Jump Street and Rampart, and she maintains a grounded charm and poise amongst even the most grimmest of scenes in Short Term 12.

The film starts out concerned primarily with her charges in the titular foster care facility where she works, but as the focus slowly turns to her own demons, Larson bears the weight of some pretty heavy stuff with a quality that deserves Oscar recognition... but probably won't get it. John Gallagher Jr. (who was great in a small role in Margaret) is much less annoying here than he is as a similar character in Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, and Keith Stanfield (who also starred in the short film this was based on) makes a huge impression as the troubled Marcus.

Don't let the subject matter put you off – this film is nothing less than utterly inspirational.

Empire (UK)


A miracle of a movie. Beautifully written and perfectly played, all of human life is here: the good, the bad, the messy and the uplifting.

Guardian (UK)


Well intentioned, but somehow inauthentic.

Hollywood Reporter


Affecting drama is a breakout for Brie Larson without losing its ensemble balance.

New York Times


Even as the gathering melodramatic storms threaten to swamp this pungent slice of life, Mr. Cretton manages to earn your tears honestly.

Time Out London


There's heart, soul and personality to burn ... But this is a film that, like many of its young characters, desperately needs to calm down.

Total Film (UK)


The lead character's called Grace, but don't be put off: Cretton's tough-love snapshot of shattered youth is achingly moving rather than manipulative or mawkish.

Variety (USA)


A film about scars, some physical, others emotional, but all examined with a sensitivity and understanding that cuts deep.




As Dominic Corry writes "Don't let the subject matter put you off"; this film is funny, sad, anger-inducing and warm all at once. In my book this is an instant "cult classic", as I doubt it will get enough audiences to become a "best seller" even if it really deserves to be.

The entire cast is great, so is the script , and not to mention the direction of Destin Cretton.

This is the sort of film that, for me, restores a bit of faith in American cinema. Go see it !