Short Term 12 review

Short Term 12: A film where at risk kids are the stars

Short Term 12 is a film told through the perspective of Grace and her boyfriend, Mason, who work at a state run foster facility for at risk teenagers. At risk teenagers are the ones who are emotionally disturbed and will commit suicide.   Grace and Mason are supposed to the main characters. I argue that the kids supplant the two main characters. The two main children that the movie focuses on is Jayden and Marcus. Marcus is a 17 year old African American male teenager who lived at Short Term 12, the facility, since he was 15. His story is that his mother would beat him for having his hair too long. He’s about to leave the facility and is having trouble adjusting to this reality. Mason is the one person that fully understands him. He was living on the streets and taken into a foster family when he was 15. They turned his life around and Mason turns Marcus’s life around by being a mentor.  Jayden is probably the most interesting character of the movie.  The actress, Kaitlyn Dever, who plays her has great emotionally range throughout the film.  Looking back on the movie; her character really takes over the audience’s attention. Kaitlyn a supporting actress who just makes you feel her character and her character’s story. H Her mother died and her dad mentally, physically, and sexually abuses her. Her mentor turns out to be Grace whose father did the same thing to her. They form a bond, and Jayden comes forth with the information to put her father away for a long time. The subplot is the film is the relationship between Grace and Mason. They live together, been together for years, and Grace is pregnant. She was pregnant once before by her father. She had an abortion and considers doing the same with her current pregnancy. She saves Jayden from her father and decides to keep the baby. Jayden looks at Grace and tells her “she will be a wonderful mother.” She reconciles with her boyfriend and the pair are happy making a difference in kids lives.  I can’t name any negatives about the film except maybe length, and I’m being picky at that.

My positives about Short Term 12 are very simple. For one, it’s one the most realistic film and story about the at risk teens that I have ever portrayed.  The first scene is teenager named Sammy running out the facility door and yelling profanities at the world. His problem is that his sister either die or was taken away from him. His mind hasn’t been able to rationalize her absence. He still plays with her dolls. Emotionally unstable kids or children continue to do this. The doll is his safety blanket. Marcus has a beautiful rap song about how his mother abused him and the fact he has never had a normal life. Mason actually starts to weep because of the sadness of the song. Jayden wrote a story about her father, being a shark, and she’s octopus that shark eats her piece by piece.  The story is a metaphor about her dad abusing her trust and love for him.  The end of story showed the the shark is left alone without any friends.  The realistic nature of the film takes you on an emotional roller coaster.  The audience wants Grace beat the shit out of Jayden’s father with a baseball bat after she sneaks into Jayden’s house.  They cheer when the pair destroyed her father’s windows and windshield of his BMW. I felt the film showed the challenges that real life workers face at risk youth homes. The kids are ticking time bombs and will hurt themselves and others without any reason or logic. Marcus tries to commit suicide right before he is able to leave the facility. Jayden is a cutter, a person who cuts themselves continuously to commit suicide,  and Grace informs Jayden that she did also when she was her dad.  Workers at these types of facilities have to continuously deal with these problems and literally can’t give the kids justice that is deserved. They’re guardians of the children that keep them from hurting themselves or others.

My score of this film 5/5 because it’s damn near flawless. I encourage people to watch it if it appears on Netflix or on television.

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Is the Monuments Men worth going to see?

The Monuments Men review

The Monuments Men is based on the historical United States Army sanction special op group that was told to find the stolen art that the Nazis took.  Historically, this story is very historically accurate.  The movie dragged on like quicksand in some parts.  George Clooney is the main character, Lt. Frank Stokes, and recruits Matt Damon’s, Bill Murray’s, John Goodman’s and several other famous actors to go find lost art. Each of character has a specialty in a specific art field. The troop splits up to go from town to town looking for stolen western civilization culture. The Monuments Men ends a positive note and it’s a feel good movie. Let me talk about the positives and negatives about the film.

My first positive is the historical validity of the movie. The Monuments Men were commissioned by Roosevelt to find the art the Nazis stole.  The group returned the art to places that they were stolen from. The movie emphasizes  this and makes the US look like heroes. I actually felt gratified when the characters found the art and felt disgusted when they found the art that had been burned. The movie also emphasizes the point about Hitler that he wanted his own museum in Austria.  Most people never know that Hitler was a former art student who was kicked out because he sucked. Another positive point for me is this movie shows the impact of war. World War II caused destruction to a lot of European towns and city. George Clooney’s character emphasizes that idea in his presentation to President Roosevelt. Another scene that i did enjoy was finding the gold teeth.  People don’t realize that the concentration camps  took out gold teeth from their prisoners and stored it. The troop found a barrel of gold teeth and didn’t speak to each other for about two minutes in the film. The scene made me feel emotionally connected to the actors. My negatives are my next topic.

The film has several big negatives for me. First, I think the pacing of the movie is slow. I believe it’s the way the editor cut the film.  There are some scenes that leave you looking at your watch or cell phone for the time. The movie really doesn’t have a lot war action and slows up the pace of the movie. However, I understand that is a real story and this group of art finder’s don’t looking for fights. They do run into a couple of fights and two of them die in the film. My biggest problem is that the cast is so great but every main character is underutilized.  I love the cast but there’s no character development. I understand this is supposed to be a historical film but characters can make films great. Take Bridge on the River Kwai for example, Alec Guinness  and William Holden make that movie into of the greatest war movies ever. I think there be might one or two fight scenes in the movie but the characters drive the plot. The cast of Monument’s Men don’t drive the plot. They weaken the movie by the lack of screen time each of them have with each other.  My film grade is my final point.

I struggled internally with my grade on this movie. I would say Monument’s Men to me was a good film, but I have seriously problems with it. I will give the film a 2.7 out 5. I love the cast of the film but Clooney as the director doesn’t get the most out of his cast. Murray, Clooney, Damon, and Goodman are all know for being charismatic actors with a good sense of humor. They were anything but that in the movie. The screenplay is weak. Here’s the difference between two historical movies that came out in the last two months. American Hustle’s script was first based on the historical element but David O. Russell rewrote to build the plot around the actors in the movie. George Clooney doesn’t do that and it shows.  I say Monuments Men might be suited for red box and save yourself 7 to 10 bucks and some gas.