Although unsure about wanting to see a movie titled Short Term 12, I quickly changed my mind after learning that this film received 100 percent approval by the nations’ critics before it even opened to the public.
The movie takes place in a short-term resident foster facility for abused and/or deeply unstable kids. It's not a happy thought to begin with -- seeing youngsters unable to have a normal and encouraging life. But here, Grace (Brie Larson) gives her all every day as a counselor trying to make a difference in the lives of every child in the home.
In one of the first scenes, Grace is outside when Sammy (Alex Calloway) runs wildly screaming out the door and across the lawn. This turns out to be a repeated action by the sensitive young boy who rarely answers questions and seeks comfort in small stuffed toys.
Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), Grace’s boyfriend and co- worker, sprints after Sammy with Grace right behind him. Mason is good at talking the children into calmness.
At home Mason and Grace are great together physically, but emotionally there are barriers easily detected. Mason drives to work, while Grace insists on riding her bicycle.
Both are terrific at reading the children's temperaments and responding to their needs. Nate (Rami Malek), a new member of the staff, is always surprised at the intensity of situations but delivers some very funny responses which add much– needed humor to the heavy topic. Grace has to remind him, “You’re not their boss or a parent. You're here to create a safe environment for them.”
Marcus (Keith Stanfield), a 17-year-old African American, has been willing to listen and learn from Grace and Mason until now. He's about to turn 18 and will be kicked out of the facility. He has no money, no job and no place to go. His fear of the unknown provokes him to act out in a very violent way. Stanfield gives an excel- lent performance in this role.