Short Term 12 (2013)
February 4, 2015 6:34 PM - Subscribe

A twenty-something supervisor (Brie Larson) at a group home for at-risk teens connects with a new resident (Kaitlyn Dever) while facing a personal crisis of her own. IMDB; Rotten Tomatoes; official website.

Reviewed at The Dissolve by a "group home veteran", and reviewed at the LA Review of Books by writer Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams.
posted by gemutlichkeit (4 comments total)
I've recently rewatched this with a friend of mine. I love this movie. The characters (especially the kids) felt true to life to me and Brie Larson as well as the "impeccable boyfriend" John Gallagher Jr. put forth some admirable work dedication to these kids despite their own personal issues.

I had to choke back the tears on a few occassions and you get those fantastic scenes/stories within the greater narrative like Marcus' rap and Jayden's kids story that might even would work as standalone pieces.

I've never seen the short of the same name Destin Daniel Cretton made and later turned into this feature film, so if anybody has seen that one as well, please report back if it's just as worthwile.
posted by bigendian at 3:22 PM on February 5, 2015

I liked this movie quite a bit except for the whole sequence where she goes back to the girl's house and destroys the car. That just seemed jarringly movie-ish in a film that was mostly realistic up to that point.
posted by octothorpe at 8:07 PM on February 5, 2015

Before I criticize this movie, I want to say that every emotional turn worked on me in spades. It told me what to feel, and then I felt it (sometimes in unexpected and interesting ways).

That said, it feels kind of like a movie about the hardships of being a Dickensian urchin for people who are much the same way that some movies (or tv shows) are sometimes criticized as being about black hardship for a white audience (caricatured, simplified, and not all that representative). The character played by Rami Malek (Nate), and especially the line about underprivileged children, suggests to me that the author is at least partially aware of this.

I am not a psychologist, but I much prefer the way trauma and behavior are linked in movies like Upstream Color. More abstract, indirect, dependent on coping mechanisms (or lack thereof), and probably not even fully understood by the abuse survivor. That is, however, a high bar to get over in a 90 minute movie, in addition to presenting a less compelling narrative.
posted by GrumpyDan at 3:35 PM on February 7, 2015

I agree, octothorpe, that the car destroying scene was a bit too Hollywood. And haha, I loved the bit about "I want to work with underprivileged children!" That resonated with me-- all those liberal arts-educated kids trying to apply to Teach for America and the like...

The film also made me consider the role and prevalence of the "wounded healer" in settings such as the one depicted in the film.

A general guideline in psych practice these days is to maintain good boundaries-- and Grace acknowledges this: "You have to kinda be an asshole before you can be their friend." ... Don't know if showing old scars is the way to go about establishing that friendship, though.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 4:53 PM on February 9, 2015

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