Short Term 12 review

This is the second film  I have watched featuring Brie Larson this year. It is no surprise that she is winning accolades and rewards for her performance in The Room.  I was late to viewing  “The Room” (watched on Amazon Prime) and now very pleasantly surprised by this other Brie Larson film, Short Term 12.   It was good enough to watch twice and life doesn’t always provide an opportunity for this kind of indulgence nor do many films warrant a second viewing right after viewing it all the way thru the first time.  Short Term 12 is now my favorite film this year and likely to go to the top 5 of all time. I include this New Yorker review of the same film as they have much better writers on staff than this humble Durham Cool author.     The second feature by Destin Daniel Cretton, set in and around an intake facility for evaluating troubled teens, looks closely at its fascinating characters to get at the notion of character itself. The story centers on Grace (Brie Larson) and Mason (John Gallagher, Jr.), two of the young adults who are the day-to-day, hands-on guardians. Their ill-defined jobs entail everything from physical restraint and police-like snooping to quasi-therapeutic interventions—and even seriocomic pursuits, through city streets, of youths who slip past the gate. The teens in their care fit a familiar, tightly defined array of ethnicities and personalities, but Cretton—who worked in such a facility—narrowly skirts the risk of stereotyping through the force of imagination. His dialogue is wondrously energized, suggesting impulses and experiences that range far beyond the confines of the plot’s problems, and Grace and Mason—a droll and sensible couple whose relationship is tested by their work—remain passionately loose-ended and casual, embodying the rare ideal of peaceful people you’d follow into battle. Subtly inverting the story’s point of view, Cretton sees his protagonists through the eyes of the teens and gets to the ineffable core of trust. —