Short Term 12

“Much of the focus on the best actress race this year is on Brie Larson and her unbelievable performance in Room. She’s currently the front runner, and she would certainly win my vote if I had one, but we’ll talk about later. Today, we’re chatting (or I’m typing) about the film that won her that role. In fact, back when Short Term 12 was released, there was lots of Oscar chatter for Larson, but mostly when bemoaning her lack of nomination, due in large part to the fact that not enough people got to see it. Those same people are the first cheerleaders Larson has as she competes for the win this year.

I’ve been a fan of Brie Larson since her days of United States of Tara. Anyone else remember that show? It had a 3 season run on Showtime and starred Toni Collette as a woman with multiple personality disorder trying to juggle a normal life with her family. As her daughter, Larson didn’t have quite as showy a role, but it was no less effective. I kept my eye on her and I still smile whenever she surprises me in a film (Don Jon and Trainwreck are two favorite performances). But if we’re being real honest here, while talk of how good she was in this movie intrigued me, I wasn’t sold enough to shell out the twelve bucks for the DVD until I found out that her costar is John Gallagher, Jr: Tony winner for Spring Awakening and (more importantly for me) original American Idiot cast member. And if we’re being really really honest, it wasn’t so much wanting to revisit Larson’s performance that made me wanna rewatch (though it was a factor). It was that the film features Rami Malek, who I’m now obsessed with on Mr Robot.

I’d pulled this DVD out about a week or so before I got around to watching it. I had a friend coming over for last minute take out and a movie, so I read over the back cover to see if it’d be worth suggesting (I ended up passing on that). The whole synopsis was praising this film for being such an uplifting and positive film. Huh? Are we talking about the movie I’m thinking of? Because what I remembered of the film was that it was really heavy, and dealt with some pretty difficult subject matter.

In this movie, Larson’s Grace runs a short term housing facility for teenaged foster kids. A troubled new girl is brought in, and the similarities between their histories forces Grace to have to relive hers as she’s trying to come to terms with various parts of her life that are in upheaval. It gets very dark in a very real way. My main thought the first time I watched was that I couldn’t believe someone so young was in charge of a place like this. She’s barely more than a kid herself, and she’s responsible for all of these underprivileged youth.

Anyways, my point to all of this, it’s a very emotional film, but one that’s absolutely worth watching. It takes a very real and human approach to some truly difficult subject matter, and is supported by some very solid performances. It’s only 95 min and it’s on Netflix. Go!”

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