There’s a heavy scene near the middle of Short Term 12 in which Grace (Brie Larson), the stern but sensitive head counselor of a foster care facility, takes a cupcake to the face as she and two co-workers pry their way into the bedroom of an unstable teenage girl named Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), who is losing it on her birthday, cursing and screaming and spitting with anger.
The mood levels out as Jayden comes down from her fit, and, in a moment of comic relief, Grace’s colleague and boyfriend, Mason (a scruffy John Gallagher Jr.), asks how the cupcake tastes. Grace, her face smeared with frosting, casts him a weary smile, temporarily defusing any tension.
Such moments make Destin Cretton’s latest endeavor—adapted from his own 20-minute short by the same name—an endearing and ultimately uplifting film. Short Term 12 strikes a delicate balance between emotional turbulence and artful understatement. Read More