I caught Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12 at SXSW, but unfortunately never got around to writing a review. It played the Seattle International Film Fest this week, where, in advance of a theatrical release from Cinedigm scheduled for August 23rd, it racked up still more glowing reviews.
It’s easy to see why. While it’s definitely a tad emo – it’s kind of like a less cheesy Dangerous Minds set at a foster care facility (no Coolio) – the acting, from Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr. (aka Poor Man’s Paul Rudd), and an incredible collection of kids, is fantastic, and the film’s so well executed that scenes that would be melodramatic in other hands mostly work here. The fact that they feel so earnest offsets the otherwise maudlin-ish moments, which probably has something to do with Cretton’s real-life experiences working at a foster care facility. And without spoiling anything about it, the closing scene is one of the best damn moments I’ve seen in a film all year, the kind of scene that can make you forgive any problems that came before it. It’s so good. And you should trust me on these things, because I’m a certified genius who wrestles disabled kids for money.
Okay, I admit, I could’ve done without another “emotional shower scene.” C’mon, indie film characters, you can be sad without being immersed in water.