My rating: 9
IMDB rating: 8.1
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2370248/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm
Every once in a while you come across a film, that changes your life. It happens when you are least expecting it and without realising it, you emerge from the film: changed! Short Term 12 is one of those films that grabs you by the (emotional) hair and yanks and yanks until you give in to its not so subtle requests.
The film starts with a little boy running from the treatment centre while screaming at the top of his lungs. The attendants catches him and while they are calming him down, they congratulate him on having run a little further than the previous time. This, of course, is the theme of the film; being just a little bit better than you were the previous day.
The two attendants, Grace and Mason, are two people every abused or disadvantaged child would be happy to have on their team. Their compassion and understanding stems from their own experiences as abused and disadvantaged young adults. In this way another theme emerges; the disengagement from your past in order to have a happy future. It is only by facing her past and entangling herself from it, that Grace is able to move forward in her and Mason’s relationship.
But, it is not as simple as that. Grace undergoes a complete transition when she meets Jayden. Jayden who is being abused by her father, reminds her so much of herself that she relives her past through Jayden. It is only when she helps Jayden, but also let go of her own anger, that she can face her past and move forward.
The techniques that Grace, Mason and the rest of their team use to speak to the children, at their level, is amazing. Drawing, chanting, percussion, mood colours and community meetings are just some of the ways in which they enable the children to explore their feelings.
Also, look out for a particularly moving song that Marcus, one of the children, raps to Mason. Although the song is specific to Marcus’ situation, it also speaks of the broader troubles of humankind as it is also about our inability to understand and have compassion for each other.
When a actor does such an amazing job of portraying a role that needs a lot of understanding, it is most definitely worth mentioning. Brie Larson does an brilliant job of portraying Grace. The fidgeting, the inability to make eye contact, the connection with the children and even her ‘happy-go-lucky’ relationship is portrayed in such a way that I cannot help but call this her ‘come-out’ role. If this is what she is able to do, I cannot wait to see what more she has in store!
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