SXSW Review | Short Term 12

Posted by Valentina Valentini on November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

SXSW Review | Short Term 12

Writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton deals in sadness. And like in real life, which is often sad, it’s sprinkled with moments of happy too. He crafts those moments into a story and through the happy moments it seems he is trying to make everyone remember that that there is hope, however small it may be. And if that’s corny, then buy me a ticket to the corny show!

As in his freshman picture (I Am Not a Hipster), Cretton focuses on breaking down emotional barriers. In Hipster it was in a man, and in this it’s Grace, expertly portrayed by Brie Larson, the no-makeup-all-acting-chops Southby darling. John Gallagher, Jr. (who interestingly plays a similar role on Newsroom) gives a sweet and sincere performance as the almost-too-good-to-be-true boyfriend, Mason, and every single member of the cast – down to the last little kid – gives remarkably true performances despite really challenging material.

Taken from Cretton’s first job out of college at a foster care facility, Short Term 12 follows Grace and Mason as they tackle their own problems while trying to help the kids they work with as well. They are not trained therapists or counselors with grad degrees. They are really just two kids trying to give back a little of what they maybe got when going through similar challenges in their own life. And what is so rare, but something that Cretton does so well, is to to see a film that takes no judgment. Of course we are allowed, even driven, to judge the horrible parents who committed any number of atrocities that would land their child in ‘the system’ – but there’s no judgment placed on the characters or their positions in the system.

Destin (and his collaborative team, including but of course not limited to, producer Ron Najor, composer Joel P. West, and DP Brett Pawlak, who gives the film it’s cool temperature and matte finish-feel) have a definite style that I can’t quite put my finger on, and I think it’s something that resonates and will continue to do so in his honest and positive outlook on storytelling.

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