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82

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 112 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Katie Walsh
    Apr 10, 2013
    100
    Short Term 12 is a roller coaster of every emotion, managing to be both heartwarming and heartrending at once.
  2. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Aug 22, 2013
    100
    Short Term 12 is a small wonder, a film of exceptional naturalness and empathy that takes material about troubled teenagers and young adults that could have been generic and turns it into something moving and intimate.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Oct 28, 2013
    100
    Short Term 12 is a miracle of a movie. Beautifully written and perfectly played, all of human life is here: the good, the bad, the messy and the uplifting.
  4. Reviewed by: William Goss
    Apr 10, 2013
    87
    [Brie Larson's] performance is something of a quiet revelation, and in turn, the same could be said of the film itself.
  5. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Aug 20, 2013
    80
    Short Term 12 isn’t without drawbacks, occasionally dipping into a too-neat narrative tidiness and a self-conscious sloppiness. Yet the film’s charms and ability to cut through jadedness despite the subject matter makes it a rarity — a modest indie that’s feels like it’s in it for the long haul.
  6. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Aug 31, 2013
    75
    Short Term 12 is that rare movie gutsy enough to tell the truth about love: that it’s not a poetic longing or a magical-thinking happy ending, but a skill. And, the film suggests, we all have the capacity to learn it.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Nov 3, 2013
    40
    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.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Apr 23, 2014
    10
    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 Expand
  2. Jan 28, 2014
    10
    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. Expand
  3. Mar 27, 2014
    10
    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
  4. Mar 30, 2014
    9
    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.
    Expand
  5. Sep 4, 2013
    9
    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.
    Expand
  6. Sep 30, 2013
    8
    "Short Term 12" is a film that could have fallen easily into the "movie of the week" context, with the dramas of child abuse, however director Destin Cretton, wisely chooses to follow Grace, a young woman who has survived difficult ordeals, and who wants to provide help and guidance for the children. The film allows for these characters to fully live and have dimension, and much of it's core and heart, comes from the interaction of the actors. The director is also very successful in capturing the frailty of children's lives and expectations, as is in the way it captures the hardship of a young relationship and the steps to becoming a responsible adult. The threads that the film successfully builds are as delicate as they are strong in it's emotional impact. Brie Larson has a fantastic performance as the experienced, yet frail Grace, as does Kaitlyn Dever as the young Jayden. The film also benefits from the beautiful cinematography from Brett Pawlak. A great film not to be missed. Expand
  7. Mar 16, 2014
    2
    Not believable. The history of the lead was improbable. More like a documentary but was too neatly linked up to a matching unbelievable conclusion. Tried to pull all the emotional strings, if you don't fall for it then waiting for the ending was all that was worth waiting for. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews

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