“Short Term 12” is infinitely dynamic, making it one of the most moving, harrowing, heartwarming, and satisfying films of the year.
Brie Larson leads as Grace, a young supervisor at Short Term 12, a facility for at-risk teens. Grace is all business, running a smooth operation, taking the time to truly get to know each and every kid, and essentially caring for them all like they’re her own. The problem is, Grace has a troubled past of her own and when a new kid comes and winds up rousing Grace’s inner demons, Graces runs the risk of losing her long-term relationship, control over Short Term 12, and her sanity.
As someone who tends to have a tough time finding an entry point when a narrative functions without a clear-cut trajectory, “Short Term 12’s” power to engage is just downright outstanding. Grace’s relationship with that new kid, a young girl named Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), is one of the primary scenarios, but the full feature is so much more than that. Just like in reality, Grace isn’t hit with ups and downs one at a time; they come all at once, at odd intervals, or not at all, and the experience is all the more raw and moving for it.
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Just because a movie’s a comedy, doesn’t mean it can only be a comedy and often, it’s quite nice to get a little heart with your laughs. However, if you try to infuse your funny film with emotion and fail, the feature becomes laughable, and not in the way you originally intended. On top of being structurally unsound and lacking in the humor department, The Sitter veers further off track in a desperate attempt at giving the final product a serious side it doesn’t deserve.
Noah Griffith is a jobless 20-something who lives with his single mother, Sandy (Jessica Hecht). When an opportunity arises for her to go to a benefit gala with some friends, the Pedullas (Erin Daniels and D.W. Moffett), who’d like to introduce her to a new guy, she’s thrilled. Problem is, the Pedullas’ babysitter cancels at the last minute and there’s no way they can leave their three young children home alone for the sake of Sandy’s love life. A reluctant Noah to the rescue! Noah steps up to the plate, rides his bike over to the Pedullas’ and agrees to babysit Slater, Blithe and Rodrigo (Max Records, Landry Bender and Kevin Hernandez).
It doesn’t take long for Noah to realize that he’s got his hands full. Slater has self-proclaimed “issues” and walks around with a fanny pack full of pills, Blithe is celebrity obsessed and has a face caked full of makeup, and Rodrigo, the family’s recent adoptee, has a thing for cherry-bombing toilets. Regardless, Noah’s hormones obscure his senses enough to make him think it’s a good idea to pack up the kids, load them into their parents’ forbidden minivan, pick up some cocaine and then deliver it to his so-called girlfriend (Ari Graynor) at a wild party. It’ll all be okay as long as the kids are in bed by 1:00am, right? Sure.
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