Commentary

August 30, 2013

‘Short Term 12’

Macario Mora

Short-Term-12
Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Short Term 12” is a simple film – short, concise and gut-wrenchingly real. At roughly an hour and half long, you find yourself completely engrossed in the nocuous youth led by Grace (Brie Larson) and the rest of the 20-something staff members at a short-term foster-care facility – hence the title.

Grace, along with her boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), and the rest of the staff treat the children and teens with a sensitivity and understanding that could only be derived from experience. The children are the misfortunate offspring of peccant drug addicts, child molesters and numerous other parental abuses. But through it all Grace manages the cutters, runaways, suicide attempts and violent outbursts, well … with – grace. That’s until the pending departure of Marcus (Keith Stanfield) and arrival of Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) begin to peel back the fragile facade Grace constructed to deal with her own abuse.

Marcus is close to turning 18, which means he must leave the home. His anxiety about living on his own results in self-destructive and violent behavior. The validity of his fear is encapsulated in an emotionally draining rap song he shares with Mason. Jayden on the other hand is a young 15-year-old who has a tendency toward violent behavior and cutting. Her issues with her father are heart-breakingly similar to Grace’s experience, which further hastens Grace’s unraveling.

Grace is also grappling with personal issues. She’s pregnant — for the second time – and trying to overcome her emotional scars to have a reasonable chance at a successful relationship with Mason, who we find out has had to overcome his own obstacles. But, an early morning phone call provides the proverbial straw that breaks Grace’s back – her father is being paroled from prison.

Through it all the film isn’t a preachy piece on society’s failure to provide children with a safe environment from which to grow, or the system’s failure in keeping abused children from their abusive parents. It’s an emotional film that focuses on the mundane and subtle aspects of the life of millions of children of ill-fated circumstances and the toll it takes on the people who try to provide those children some semblance of a “normal” childhood.

This film is a love story; Grace and Mason manage the ebb and flow of a relationship in flux due to her emotional instability and unwillingness to come to terms. It’s also a snapshot of the underprivileged and ignored children who bounce from foster home to foster home with mixed results – a stop gap but never a solution.

Mason tells a story to Nate (Rami Malek) on Nate’s first day as a staff member that sort of sums up the film. To make a hilarious story short, Mason follows a physically imposing foster kid off the property in an attempt to get him to come back; the staff are not allowed to touch them once they leave the premises. The kid tells Mason that if Mason gets off with him at the next bus stop, the kid will beat him. Unfortunately for Mason, the previous evening’s tacos aren’t sitting well in his stomach and he has no choice but to find a restroom. The kid turns around about to stomp the life out of Mason, but before he can Mason defecates all over himself. The kid decides to come back after all if for no other reason than to tell everyone of the incident – it’s quite hilarious.

Nate asks Mason toward the end of the movie whatever happened to the kid, to which Mason replies, and I paraphrase, “he left a few days later and they found his body in a ditch.” The somberness left me drained but appreciative of a Monday evening well spent. This film is a must see.

This film is rated R for language and brief sexuality.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

TRICARE revises drug coverage for safety, use

WASHINGTON — Starting May 1, Express Scripts, the TRICARE pharmacy contractor, will screen all ingredients in compound drug claims to ensure they are safe and effective, and covered by TRICARE. This screening process is like the one TRICARE already uses for other prescription drugs, but it will now apply to the ingredients in compound drugs....
 
 
WHM

Chaplain’s thoughts …

  March is Women’s History Month. In honor of that I searched for some notable quotes by significant women for this article. I began my search in a rather old-school way; flipping pages in my “1001 Pearls of Spiritual ...
 
 
fo_LL

Fly Over: ‘LL COOL J’s PLATINUM WORKOUT’ and ‘Chappie′

In stores: ‘LL COOL J’s PLATINUM WORKOUT’ “Mama said, knock you out!” ~ LL Cool J LL Cool J is an award-winning hip hop artist whose songs have been heard all across the world. He has hosted the “Grammys” numerous...
 

 

Bring ‘invisible class’ into view

When I was a young boy, my father explained to me that there was dignity in work. He told me to always respect the worker regardless of how thankless or menial their job may appear to be. He said that you never know the burdens a person may be carrying, or the family members that...
 
 

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for success

“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ~ Diana Scharf Hunt What personal or professional goals do you want to achieve this year? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to make that next rank? Goal setting is a powerful tool that can turn a vision of the future into reality. Top athletes and...
 
 
anne-frank

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Courtesy photo “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank Anne Frank’s posthumously published work, “A Diary of a Young Girl,” painted a picture of t...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin