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.