Down 101 this week

Short Term 12 (2013)

R  |   |  Drama  |  23 August 2013 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 45,601 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 107 user | 239 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A 20-something supervising staff member of a residential treatment facility navigates the troubled waters of that world alongside her co-worker and longtime boyfriend.

Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

34 wins & 63 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park.

Directors: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.

Director: Ryan Coogler
Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A hard-partying high school senior's philosophy on life changes when he meets the not-so-typical "nice girl."

Director: James Ponsoldt
Stars: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Kyle Chandler
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three teenage friends, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Stars: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

At the lowest point of his life, Richie gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his eleven-year old niece, Sophia, for a few hours.

Director: Shawn Christensen
Stars: Shawn Christensen, Fatima Ptacek, Emmy Rossum
Detachment (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A substitute teacher who drifts from classroom to classroom finds a connection to the students and teachers during his latest assignment.

Director: Tony Kaye
Stars: Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, Marcia Gay Harden
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When his only friend dies, a man born with dwarfism moves to rural New Jersey to live a life of solitude, only to meet a chatty hot dog vendor and a woman dealing with her own personal loss.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale
Frances Ha (2012)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.

Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Submarine (2010)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

15-year-old Oliver Tate has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life.

Director: Richard Ayoade
Stars: Craig Roberts, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine
Nebraska (2013)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb
In a World... (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An underachieving voice coach finds herself competing in the movie trailer voice-over profession against her arrogant father and his protégé.

Director: Lake Bell
Stars: Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins
Blue Ruin (2013)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A mysterious outsider's quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family.

Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Stars: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lydia Du Veaux ...
Nurse Beth
Harold Cannon ...
Mason's Dad (as Harold Cannon-Lopez)
Mason's Mom
Dr. Hendler
Bran'dee Allen ...


At a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers, Grace is a young counselor trying to do her best for kids who often have been pulled from the worst kinds of home situations. Even then, life is not easy as Grace and her colleagues care for kids who are too often profoundly scarred, even as they try to have lives of their own. Now, things are coming to a head as Grace readies for marriage even as some her charges are coming to major turning points in their lives. To cope, Grace will have to make difficult perceptions and decisions that could put her career, and more importantly her charges, at dire risk. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

23 August 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Temporário 12  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$56,206 (USA) (23 August 2013)


$1,010,414 (USA) (7 February 2014)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr. got their parts after auditioning via Skype. See more »


While Jayden is waiting for her father, she does her makeup (eyeliner around her eyes) After her father fails to come get her, she runs into her room,and after a scuffle, is pinned down by Nate, Grace and Mason. At this point, there is no makeup on or around her eyes. See more »


Jayden: Why?
Grace: My mom died, I went to live with my dad and it's impossible to worry about anything else when there's blood coming out of you.
See more »


Featured in 19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards (2014) See more »


After Party
Written by Keith Milgaten and Keith Stanfield
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

May just be the best film of the year
24 November 2013 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Real heroes do not always end up with glory and parades. Heroism is sometimes reflected in small scale actions that no one ever hears about but occur every day in schools, hospitals, or wherever there are people who need compassion. Werner Erhard defines true heroism as "the kind which ends up in the truth, in what works, in what is honest and real being brought out and made available to others." This kind of authenticity is front and center in Destin Cretton's Short Term 12, the story of troubled teens living in a short-term group home who are the recipients of empathy from counselors only a few years older who may have faced similar situations in their life.

Winner of the audience award at the L.A. Film Festival and South by Southwest as well as the narrative feature prize, it is funny and sad with a wide range of emotions in-between. Coming from the director's own experience of working in a similar environment for two years, the film is permeated with an air of authenticity and it is rare that a film has such uniformly natural performances. Grace (Brie Larson) is the staff supervisor at the home known only as Short Term 12, a designation reflecting the fact that the residents are supposed to be there for no more than a year, although many have been there longer. The longer they stay, however, the more traumatic it is for them to leave.

These are not "bad" kids though some may have had run-ins with the law. They are, more often than not, victims of parental abuse or neglect whose continuing to live at home would put them at risk. Most of the children are scared and have a lot of hidden anger but Cretton does not present them in a way that solicits our pity. They are who they are and we relate to them as fellow human beings. As Grace tells Nate (Rami Maledk), a new worker at the home, "We're not their parents or their therapists. We're just here to create a safe environment." These words seem to be lost on Nate, however, who, when introduced to the residents, says "I've always wanted to work with underprivileged kids," an insulting designation to which 17-year-old Marcus (Keith Stanfield) takes umbrage. Marcus, who is going to be discharged when he reaches 18, ready or not, elicits a stumbling apology from Nate who realizes his mistake.

Grace's boyfriend, Mason (John Gallagher), begins the film with a story about an embarrassing incident with a young runaway. The story, which is gross and off-putting, is interrupted by bells going off as a scrawny young boy, Sammy (Alex Calloway), a frequent runaway, makes a beeline for the gate but is intercepted before he can make it outside the property. Jayden, in an impeccable performance by Kaitlyn Dever, is a new arrival who has made previous suicide attempts. Expecting her father to take her home soon, she is surly and uncommunicative and is only able to communicate with Grace by means of a heartbreaking children's story she wrote about a shark and an octopus, a story with a hidden meaning that that Grace pick ups on.

Marcus, in another moving scene, sings a deeply felt rap song he created for Mason about "a life not knowing what a normal life's like." Although the children play a huge role in the film, the main focus is on Grace and how her work affects her life. We find out at the beginning that she is pregnant and has scheduled an appointment to have an abortion, but she is conflicted. She knows that Mason loves her and would be a good father but she has seen neglectful parents or worse in her own life and at the home and her built-up anger expresses itself in a memorable scene.

Short Term 12 could have become another film that sets out to inspire us through contrivance and manipulation. Under Cretton's direction, however, if there are tears to be shed, every one of them is earned. Though it (most likely) will not be remembered when awards are handed out at the end of the year, unlike many films with huge budgets and greater hype, it will remain with you after the others are long forgotten. Short Term 12 may just be the best film of the year.

75 of 97 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Kind Of Stupid... greenactoral
Why isn't this film at the Oscars???????????? nastasia_g8
I work in a shelter very similar to this one and... zooropa_83
Jayden's Children's Story stairy
How pervasive is the shaky camera work? gf1701
Sammy's back story Mod_Life_Crisis
Discuss Short Term 12 (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: