FILMS THAT GOT AWAY #15: SHORT TERM 12 (2013)
Written and Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton
Produced by: Maren Olson, Asher Goldstein, Joshua Astrachan, Ron Najor
Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher, Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Lakeith Stanfield, Kevin Hernandez, Melora Walters, Stephanie Beatriz, etc.
Cinematography: Brett Pawlak
I refer to both this film, Short Term 12 (2013), and the Disney-owned behemoth studio which, while releasing some incredible film works over the years, currently pumps out generic product of variant quality. I say “Bloody Marvel” because the studio continue to poach some amazingly talented filmmakers with indie roots to front their entertaining cookie-cutter templates. I, of course, include Short Term 12 (2013), writer-director, Destin Daniel Cretton who, having adapted his own short film for a reported $400,000, has subsequently been directing stupidly expensive super-hero films for the studio giant.
Short Term 12 (2013) is one of those films I missed seeing on release. I then, for some unknown series of reasons, did not see it on video until earlier this month. It is a brilliant drama, full of fascinating characters, amazing dialogue, poignant moments of humanity and some really funny scenes also. Moreover, it has almost the perfect low-budget film screenplay, so it is no surprise to find out Destin Daniel Cretton’s script won a Nicholls Fellowship Screenwriting Award. The casting director also deserves a mention too. I am not sure what kind of crystal ball they had because the ensemble is a who’s-who of “before they were famous” castings including: Brie Larson, Lakeith Stanfield, Rami Malek, John Gallagher, Kaitlyn Dever and Stephanie Beatriz.
Set in a group care home, Short Term 12 (2013), centres around the staff and teenage children and their daily ups and downs. At the heart of the story is Grace (Brie Larson) and her work/romance partner, Mason (John Gallagher). As well as working to resolve the often harrowing issues of teenagers such as Marcus (Lakeith Stanfield) and Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), Grace strives to overcome the post-traumatic scars her childhood has caused her. Aside from a slight tragedy overload in the final act, Short Term 12 (2013), is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. The emotional gravity I felt for many of these characters was so powerful. It is very rare that a film can make me laugh and cry in equal measures. And it was all shot, acted and directed in just twenty days. Destin Daniel Cretton’s sophomore feature film is a true indie marvel!