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Universal acclaim- based on 114 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 114

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  1. Apr 23, 2014
    this is clearly one of the best films of the year. the screenplay, the direction, the acting, the casting, everything is incredible. most importantly, it has addressed an important issue very skillfully and flawlessly. 10/10
  2. Aug 25, 2013
    Extremely well-written film. This story has been told 100 times, but not nearly as elegantly as this time. And the two leads are simply outstanding. It would be a shame if Brie Larson isn't mentioned for her performance come award season.
  3. Sep 9, 2013
    This is Destin Cretton's second movie as a Director and a Writer. And I would say, a very impressive one.
    The movie is about life in a facility for teenagers from abusive families. It focuses on kids
    who live there and stuff who work there.
    I found the movie incredibly honest and delicate. Very strong acting performance. Brie Larson
    who plays Grace, in my opinion, deserves to be
    nominated for Oscar. Overall, it is an excellent movie. Expand
  4. Jan 28, 2014
    One of the best movies of 2013. Incredible performances and Brie Larson is AMAZING! Wonderful script. Tough subject matter beautifully handled. Loved everthing about the movie.
  5. Jan 15, 2014
    This is a fantastic indie drama. Brie Larson gives a breakout performance she captures a woman excited to help these children while dealing with her own demons. A
  6. Sep 4, 2013
    Writer-director Destin Cretton's Short Term 12 is a marvel, an intimate look into the life of a young woman named Grace, a mature, resourceful, and damaged caretaker at a juvenile housing facility. From first shot to last, the film is stunning; it is emotionally vast, beautifully and intimately shot, and an incredibly acted success.

    Short Term 12's subject matter lends itself to
    immediacy, and so the film presents its characters in stride, building up Grace, her paramour co-worker, ally, and confidant Mason, and the teenagers in their care with small, detailed brushstrokes for example, we learn who Mason is primarily through his natural storytelling ability as he introduces the facility to a new staff member; with anger-brimming older boy Marcus, it's a profound but not unbelievably polished rap session. These moments are expository without ever feeling forced or out of place; Cretton's mantra seems to favor an almost voyeuristic naturalism above all else. There are a few scant moments where the writing takes a turn for the more forced, especially when the script plays for laughs and the jokes stand out from the rest of the dialogue because they are so obviously structured for punchlines. These are easily forgiven, however, as the film quickly slips into its deeply sympathetic stages, teasing out the wracking pain and broken pasts buried within these kids, who quickly demonstrate that they're far more than the band of colorful misfits they initially present as. The aforementioned Marcus as the facility's veteran resident and a newcomer, Jayden, whose attitude and scarred over past most closely resemble Grace, play the primary fulcrums for Mason and Grace to pivot around. Instead of one great urgency that drives the narrative forward, there is a looser, short-story style that weaves its way through the film, thus adhering to its dropped-in, naturalistic feel. The conflicts these kids (and other adults!) introduce and the sympathies they engender are utilized as ways to explore, primarily, Grace's own frustrations, weaknesses, aspirations, and pain. Grace is the all-encompassing center stage here, and at its core, the film is very introspective, an elegant psychological portrait that strikes a near-perfect balance between what it shows and what it leaves for the viewer to surmise.

    So, of course, we must talk about Brie Larson's superlative, sumptuous performance as Grace. This is as close of an embodiment of the now mythical strong female character as you're likely to see all year. She's immediately admirable and likable it's clear that she cares for these children and operates with a generous compassion and patience, but her balancing flaws are what make her truly stand out. Instead of a few individual negative traits (like the general impishness that infects every manic pixie dream girl derivative, or, say, emotional volatility because, you know, women are crazy), her demons form an almost terrifying certainly tragically cohesive whole. She's constantly receding from some past open wound, and it makes her at times prideful, stubborn, defiant, pitiful, and difficult. Her past and her person come together to form a character that understands how to fight through pain, and demonstrates courage through her resilience and fire, but is never quite sanctified and all the more laudably grounded for it. Though in broad strokes it is a rich and comprehensive and powerful portrayal, there are a few pinprick moments where the direction does seem to recede into comfortable cliche do we ever need another shot of a character looking vacant and troubled in the shower? Still, a few of these are easily forgiven, and the larger picture painted is still breathtaking. This centerpiece that is Grace owes equal dues to Cretton's heartfelt script and Larson's performance, the latter of which runs the gamut between optimistically aloof, passionate, distant, angry, and, when earned, triumphant, and she leaves nothing on the table.

    Larson would stick out like a sore thumb, however, if her supporting cast didn't all rise to the challenge to extend the tapestry of her character into a fully realized world populated with all sorts of interesting. As Mason, John Gallager Jr. gives a far less showy but quietly stellar performance as Grace's partner in all things; if I had to nitpick, there are moments where he suffers from Gary Stu syndrome, but he has enough to do to quickly rise up as a formidably substantial character on his own. When Grace runs into adversaries, instead of being heartless bureaucratic hardasses like the DMV caricatures administrative types are usually presented as, they offer counter-arguments that are both logical and passionate, and Grace is far from always right. But we continue to root for her in tremendous ways, because she seems so knowable, because she's heartwrenchingly thorough, because this story, in spite of its sometimes angsty trappings, comes across as so personal and real.
  7. Oct 5, 2013
    Short Term 12 is really well written movie with believable actors and characters. The lead role actors, Brie Larson and John Gallagher are exceptionally good and hold the movie. I can only imagine how tough it is to work in a facility with at-risk teenagers. My heart goes out to the abused, if feel their pain. Props go to Kevin Hernandez who lends some hot salsa flavor to the film. Overall a feel good movie. When I left the theater, the sun was particularly bright, I was in a somber mood and quiet was the day, that I broke into the tears. A MUST SEE FILM!!! Expand
  8. May 24, 2014
    Short Term 12 represents all that is good in human beings. Everything feels so real. The direction. The dialogue and in particular the emotions. Not a weak performance and the result is an uplifting, thought provoking film. Possibly the most human film in years.
    Thank Jebus for Brie Larson
  9. Jan 14, 2014
    Holy **** What a great movie this is. A movie that has so much heart hasn't come by in a long, long while. Gravity, American Hustle and all those hyped up movies in contention for his year's Oscar pale in comparison to this movie. A great script, some very real performances, amazing screenplay and perfect direction make this movie an instant classic. It will be etched in my mind forever.

    Brie Larson, as Grace is exceptional and John Gallagher Jr. (of Newsroom) is extremely talented and right on the money as Mason. Kaitlyn Dever turns in a mature performance for a 17 year old and Keith Stanfield plays the subdued Marcus to a tee.

    A must watch movie and easily one of the best, if not the best movie of the year.
  10. Mar 21, 2014
    Short Term 12 gives itself time to take shape, but once we are on board it ends up becoming greatly powerful and passionate in its telling of vast emotional intricacy, determination and resonance. It is a simple film on paper, but overwhelmingly deep in life, body and soul. It is a heartwarming film and a heart wrenching film. By the end, we have a big smile on our faces and see that our characters’ lives come full circle for the best intentions. You can’t expect or want more from this film.

    Brie Larson gives a most natural performance as Grace who is in general charge of the facility, though she is not the boss, a psychologist or even a therapist. She is simply a friendly, kind and interactive role model for these hardened kids. Larson has been a gem on the indie screen for the last few years and she certainly has a long and lustrous career ahead of her. She carries the show here.

    What is so wonderful about this film is that we get to meet and follow more than one resident’s story. This isn’t a plot overdrive, everything adds up justifiably and we should, in fact, be grateful. The film is perceived to avoid the loophole of sentimentality and offer a window into convincing and manifold characters. Destin Daniel Cretton, the director, reportedly worked as a staff member at a place such like the one shown in Short Term 12. This shows through his material and ability to bring together multiple stories with such fluency and emotional impact. He ensures his characters are worthy of love and attention.

    A new arrival to the foster home, Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) seems to be one of the most deeply troubled, and is a ‘cutter’ as they call it. It is through Jaydan that we learn more about Grace’s dark past, as they strike a sweet and subtle connection with one another. One may doubt Grace’s ability to stand in the position of authority that she holds; Grace is yet to see closure with her own issues, but she is great at what she does through her kindness of heart. It’s no surprise why she does this job: she doesn’t want anyone to have to suffer the same way she did.

    Due to her deeply routed internal struggles, Grace struggles to give real intimacy; she cannot commit and is prone to sudden emotional bursts that seem completely irrelevant at the time. This is obviously a problem for her boyfriend of three years, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.). Mason is a nice guy and does exceedingly well not to grab his bags and head for the hills; he will fight for what he believes in. Mason tells two wonderful stories that act as opening and closure for the film. One is funny and sets the day-to-day tone of conversation and spirit in the workplace, whereas the other is one of inspiration and romance that ends the picture suggesting that all the characters have taken a path of elevation.
  11. Mar 27, 2014
    Easily one of the best films of the year that delivers in every facet. Strongest is the incredible script by Destin Cretton and the wonderful characters, most especially the supporting characters that give credibility to a story about foster care facilities. Yes, Brie Larson is stellar and John Gallagher, Jr. is incredible with a kind of chemistry rarely on screen, but the small performances of the supporting cast are what really gave this film heart. It is heartbreakingly empathetic in ways only films can be. I cannot wait to see what director Destin Daniel Cretton. Expand
  12. Mar 30, 2014
    This is easily one of the best scripts of 2013.

    It's interesting seeing how the characters' backstory is gradually revealed throughout the movie, and the characters are amazing to watch, thanks in large to great and captivating performances by the entire cast.

    There is a lot of emotion in this work. In some scenes you feel like laughing, while crying in others, and you're deeply
    touched in all of them.

    A very beautiful film, one which i'm surprised wasn't recognized in any way at the Oscars or the Golden Globe.
  13. Oct 7, 2013
    Easily one of the best films of the year that delivers in every facet. Strongest is the incredible script by Destin Cretton and the wonderful characters, most especially the supporting characters that give credibility to a story about foster care facilities. Yes, Brie Larson is stellar and John Gallagher, Jr. is incredible with a kind of chemistry rarely on screen, but the small performances of the supporting cast are what really gave this film heart. It is heartbreakingly empathetic in ways only films can be. I cannot wait to see what director Destin Daniel Cretton. Expand
  14. Jan 25, 2014
    This movie came with a surprise, keeping everything so simple. The director's first full length feature which is actually based on his short movie of the same name. This movie tells the story of a group of young foster-care home supervisors and teenagers who live under their observation.

    A realistic movie with well balanced between characters and its narration. It was very much original
    subject and also in a believable manner. The movie with not-so-popular actors had achieved something every beginner filmmaker wanted to prove their direction skills. From screenplay to performances, it was outstanding.

    It all begins with a character Grace, a staff at a foster house facility and her co-worker as well her boyfriend, Mason. When a new staff joins them, soon, an another new kid called Jayden brought into the house under the supervision. After some incident Grace and Jayden begin to merge in emotionally for having a similar kinda previous events. Grace gets disturbed and her life begins to trouble the present. With all this, how she gonna face the current situation is the movie to be told in the remains.

    It had a very good opening sequence. Later on it went little slow but I liked as it was described in such pace to bring quality in drama. The second half is what everyone is going to love the movie for carrying striking storyline. The sustainable pace and story with expansion in broad was the highlight of the last quarter of the movie narration.

    As I expected it was not a commercial product, but definitely it will be recognizable in film festival arenas. It is not your usual movie that you had seen in Hollywood. Honestly, one of the 2013's best movie drama. 'Short Term 12' is the movie will be a turning point for many in their career, especially for the actress and the director.

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Nov 14, 2013
    Short Term 12 is a triumph of modesty.
  2. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Nov 3, 2013
    The lead character’s called Grace, but don’t be put off: Cretton’s tough-love snapshot of shattered youth is achingly moving rather than manipulative or mawkish.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Nov 3, 2013
    There's a too-cute-to-be-true ending to this US indie movie by the much-acclaimed young director Destin Cretton; I couldn't buy it, and found myself wondering if I had kept the receipt for the rest of the film too.