Thursday, February 11, 2016

Movie Review: Short Term 12

**This movie is not recommended for anyone who has been or is currently going through any sort of depression. This movie has many triggers and even if reading about it or seeing screenshots will affect you then please click away.**

The movie starts off in a wide view of what looks like a camp. Later on we find out it is a group home for at-risk teens.

Fast forward about 5 seconds and you reach this scene where a group of 20-30 year olds are talking to the new guy, Nate (on the left with his back towards us). The cast is a very underrated group of actors. We have Brie Larson who plays Grace, John Gallagher who plays Mason (pictured in the middle with the burgundy jacket), Kaitlyn Dever who plays Jayden, Keith Stanfield who plays Marcus, and many more. Mason begins telling a story to Nate about a boy who escaped the camp. The rules are that if a kid runs away, camp leaders CANNOT touch them. Meaning they cannot grab the teen and bring them back. All they can do is follow them and hope they decide to go back. Mason then explains how the kid got on a bus and stayed for several stops. While Mason was explaining the story to Nate, one of the teens runs out of the building and makes a break for the exit/entrance of the camp.

Mason and Grace run after the teen (who we learn is named Sammy) while Nate catches up. Nate then asks what he would normally do in this situation and is told that Sammy is the only one who really does this and just needs to be held down until he screams for a minute or two to cool off.

Grace leads Nate inside to explain to him that he is not the parent nor the therapist of any teen in the facility. She introduces him to the new lifestyle of being a caregiver and a friend to the teens who are struggling which would be all of them.

Grace has all of the teens sit in the waiting room where she does the daily group activity of asking how everyone is doing and if they have any ideas they would like to pitch to the leaders. This is the scene where we meet Marcus.

After a very stressful group meeting, Grace is confronted by her boss, Jack, who tells her that there will be a new member to the group (Jayden) and she is the daughter of his close friend. Grace learns that Jayden will be spending every other weekend with her father instead of staying in the camp for a full year.

After work, Grace goes to the abortion clinic where she plans to make an appointment for an abortion. She hoped that she was not pregnant, even after 7 pregnancy tests that came back positive. The nurse asks her if she truly wants to go through with the abortion and Grace avoids all eye contact throughout the conversation. The nurse then asks if she has been pregnant before which makes Grace hesitate before she answers "yes" and begins to pick at her thumb with her index finger.

After a secretive meet with the nurse at the abortion clinic, Grace returns home to her fiancé. Mason and Grace sit on the couch and draw each other on their own notepads. Apparently, it is a regular activity that they turn to after a long day at work. Grace presents a somewhat perfect portrait of Mason while Mason presents a rather disfigured portrait of Grace, causing the couple to laugh. Grace then asks why he is so sweet to her and he responds with "you are the weirdest most interesting girl I have ever met" which causes Grace to smile and kiss him. So cute.

Day 2 of work for Nate and he witnesses a fight between two teens, Marcus and Luis, during a game of wiffleball. Marcus has been having random sorts of outbursts throughout the week that has caught Grace's attention. She tries her best to get as much information as possible out of Marcus in order to help him but he does not open his mouth. 

Mason tells Grace that he would go talk to Marcus and try to work something out. As soon as Mason walks into Marcus' room, he hears Marcus rapping under his breath. Mason asks what he is rapping about and Marcus invites him inside the room where he hands Mason a single bongo. 
Mason begins to play a steady beat while Marcus raps about his life and how his mom was abusive. This is when Mason learns that Marcus never had a dad around the house and his mom was a drunk who blamed him for everything while physically abusing him.

Cut to next scene where Grace begins to bond with Jayden, a new member of the group. Grace finds out that Jayden likes to draw so she asks if she could draw with her. They decide to draw each other, just as Mason and Grace draw each other back at home. Grace then figures out that Jayden is a very sarcastic teen who does not really care what comes out of her mouth. 

Grace then returns home where she is left with the issue of telling her fiancé that she is pregnant or just keeping the problem to herself. After many moments of laying in bed together, Grace tells Mason that she is pregnant. Mason reacts in the worst way possible and storms out of the room only to come back and tell Grace that it is great news. Obviously, he just needed some time to himself.

The weekend comes around and Jayden is waiting for her father to pick her up. As she sits in bed she begins to grow impatient. She lays back and lifts her feet up against the wall, crossing one foot over the other, and waiting a little longer. After a couple of hours pass, Jayden suspects her father to arrive at any second so she packs her things and goes to the waiting room where the camp leaders and other camp members are sitting, chatting and playing games. Jayden listens to music the entire time that she waits while she begins to pick at her skin, causing her to bleed. Grace realizes that Jayden's dad is a no-show and waits patiently for Jayden to react. Jayden jumps off of the couch and runs to her room where she slams her door shut. Grace, knowing that is against the rules, runs to Jayden's room and demands for her to open the door. After a long 5 minutes of trying to shove the door open, Jayden opens the door and smashes a piece of cupcake into Grace's face while she cries and screams about her dad not showing up.

After Jayden had her small outburst, the rest of the teens in the camp decided to come together to make her birthday cards since it was the next day. Although Jayden appreciated the amount of work that everyone put into the cards, it did not stop her from leaving.

Grace catches Jayden running out of the camp and chases after her. They end up reaching Jayden's dad's house where they talk about going back to camp. Jayden refuses and decides to break into her dads house by going to the side of the house and using the hidden key to open the garage door. Grace ends up waiting outside of her house until Jayden comes out through the front door. They sit for a while, talk, and decide that it is time to go back to the camp where Jayden will be happier.

The next morning, Mason and Grace wake up to a phone call from the correctional facility in the city. Mason tells Grace that her dad will be getting out of jail in a month which causes Grace to pick at her thumb again until it starts bleeding. I learned that she continuously picks at her thumb throughout the movie whenever she is put in a very stressful/awkward situation. That same day, Grace goes to work and walks into Jayden's room to check up on her. Jayden asks Grace to sit down so that she can open up to her about her father. Jayden pulls out a single piece of paper and reads a story that she wrote and illustrated. It is the story of an octopus who wanted a friend. A shark swims by and tells the octopus that he will be her friend but she has to let him eat one of her arms because he is hungry. Since the octopus never had a friend before, she allows the shark to eat an arm. They continue to play and each day the shark gets hungry, he eats an arm from the octopus. Eventually, the octopus runs out of arms and the shark decides to swim away to find a new "friend". The octopus then becomes lonely and dies. To sum it up, the octopus is Jayden and the shark is Jayden's father. Grace realizes that Jayden's father abuses her when she goes home.
The next morning, Grace comes into work and one of her colleagues tells her that Jayden was picked up by her father the night before.

Grace storms into Jack's office where she tells him that his friend is abusing his daughter and that they need to bring Jayden back to camp. Jack, however, cannot do anything because Jayden never made a report about her father abusing her and he cannot take a girl away from her biological father when they have no proof. This infuriates Grace and she decides that she cannot risk losing Jayden to a man who reminds Grace of her own father.

Grace gets on her bike and rides to Jayden's father's house where she sneaks in through the garage door. She knocks over a bin with a baseball bat in it and, in anger, she grabs the baseball bat and walks upstairs, quietly. Grace finds Jayden's father sleeping in his bed and she walks over to the side of the bed where she begins to stare at him with absolute fire in her eyes. Jayden appears at the door and asks Grace what she is doing then walks away.

Grace and Jayden sit outside and talk about the abuse that Jayden goes through at home. Grace then explains that she was physically, emotionally, and mentally abused by her father and ended up going to court to send her own father to jail. Grace does her best to tell Jayden that they have to do something to stop the abuse and Jayden points out that "bashing my fathers face in while he is sleeping" was not a bright idea. Thankfully, Jayden was there to stop Grace before she did anything. Jayden then grabs the bat and bashes in the car windows of her father's car while Grace takes a few swings at the front window. After the car is completely trashed, Grace manages to persuade Jayden to  report her abusive father to her therapist and to Jack. (pictured below)

Then the movie comes to a close the same way it began. Mason telling Nate a story and then, of course...

Sammy running out of the camp while everyone chases him.

One of my favorite movies with the best cast I have ever seen.


  1. Wow! This movie seems very emotional. Looks like a great movie though.

  2. This movie looks pretty good. Good post!

  3. Sheesh, I feel like I've just watched the movie over again! Fantastic review as always, nice job.