Short Term 12
Brie Larson delivers not only a star making performance, but one of the best leading turns of the year in this emotionally charged look into the lives of workers at a facility for at risk youth with mental health issues.
The de facto boss of the day shift at the group home, Grace (Larson) tries to balance her awkward professional position when her own life is on the rocks. She’s pregnant with the child of her boyfriend and co-worker Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), and she’s unsure about keeping it. She wants to help some of the teens beyond her parameters, but she’s neither a trained doctor, official, or family member. Personal demons from her own past are also beginning to weigh heavily on her, leading her to wonder if she can continue doing a job that she’s clearly good at and means so much to her.
Based on his own 2008 short, writer and director Destin Daniel Cretton certainly has an eye for poetic imagery, an ear for sound design, and a great sense of pacing, but Larson’s so exceptional that it could have carried lesser material to greatness. Her Grace carries with her a world of knowledge and experience that could only come from constant personal reflection and being good at a job that has broken down souls stronger than her own. She has physical and emotional scars of her own, and yet she’s frustrated that she can’t even really offer these kids friendship or empathy. Alongside Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, there isn’t a better female lead in any film this year.
The supporting cast also offers a tremendous amount of artistic and moral support, and while Cretton succeeds wonderfully when it comes to creating a great dynamic, his biggest accomplishment comes from showing the delicate balance of how sometimes the best person for a particular job is also the most ill suited. (Andrew Parker)
Monday, November 11th, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 7:00pm