Short Term 12 is a much talked-about film when it comes to the career of Brie Larson. By the time of its release in 2013, Larson had already built a solid library of work in film and on television All of her film roles show a different level of her acting ability and Larson’s performance as Grace, a foster home manager who takes on the challenges of the kids there as much as her own, in Short Term 12 is no exception.
The feature-length version of Short Term 12 is based on director and writer Destin Daniel Cretton’s own experience working in a group home for at-risk teenagers and a short film of the same name that received official selection honors at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Larson and the rest of the cast, John Gallagher Jr., Rami Malek and Stephanie Beatriz, as far as I can tell, effectively embodied the reality of the lives of people who work in foster or group homes and the line they have to keep between being a friend and authority figure to kids there.
Cretton cast several young actors to play the kids living at Short Term 12, also the name of the foster home, who challenged the staff there and brought to light the struggles they face in their adult lives outside of work.
Grace is the most affected by the kids’ lives and their well-being, often putting them first before her health and own family and going to all lengths to protect them.
Larson drew me into the film right away through her portrayal of Grace and it is evident early on that she relates to the kids she cares for on a higher level than her coworkers, including her boyfriend Mason (Gallagher Jr.)
There are a lot of tough moments in the film and for its characters but they are balanced with positive happenings and simple things the group at Short Term 12 does to try to bring some normalcy to the kids’ lives.
That is where the film, also through its minimalist visual style, seems to mix well between fiction and reality of the environment it portrays and leaves you knowing that world of caring for people in need never stops, no matter what else is going on.
“To me, the difference between the people who are successful and fulfilled and those who are frustrated and freaked-out has always had to do with accepting what we can and cannot control, and then doing our best to enact changes within that.”