Complete A-Z list

Short Term 12


Stars: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr, Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Stephanie Beatriz, Melora Walters

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Very well-meaning, but in all honesty hard going in the telling, this heart-on-sleeve drama focuses on life at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers, who are allowed to stay there until they are 18.

Brilliant carer Grace (Larsen) soothes frayed minds, and knows just how to deal with crisis situations at any given time. This being a 21st century movie, however, it's inevitable that Grace has her own troubles - past and present. Pregnant by her lover (Gallagher Jr), who also works at the facility, Grace struggles to keep control of her own life and those of the teenagers - especially sullen newcomer Jayden (Dever) - in her charge.

Nothing wrong with the performances here, but the drama is a bit of a grind, contrived at every corner to provide one crisis or another, and not altogether helped by jumping camerawork that never seems totally in focus.

In spite of its good intentions, it's hard to see who would want to pay to see this one. To bring these teen problems to the attention of a general public, a more high-profile female star was probably needed.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Verve. Colour (unspecified).
96 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 26 Oct 2013