10 March 2013 5:34 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

There is undoubtedly a potential bad version of "Short Term 12" that writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton ("I Am Not a Hipster"), fortunately, didn't make. The movie, which follows the experiences of staff and patients at the eponymous foster care home for at-risk teens, contains a series of sentimental hooks without overplaying any of them. Cretton's screenplay pulls off a tricky balance of imbuing its story with emotional weight while not coming across as cloying in the process. The situation is inherently dramatic, but the filmmaker complicates it with characters worth rooting for.  That success is aided by impeccable performances all around. Brie Larson, to date best known for her role on the now-defunct "United States of Tara," delivers a tremendously involving turn as Grace, the young supervisor of the facility drawn into the distinctive needs of various patients while maintaining a warm relationship with co-worker Mason (Jason Gallagher Jr., subdued but equally. »

- Eric Kohn

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