(2013)

Critic Reviews

82

Metascore

Based on 36 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Short Term 12 is a roller coaster of every emotion, managing to be both heartwarming and heartrending at once.
100
Taking its time to let the world take shape, Short Term 12 builds to an involving series of mini-climaxes without tidying up every loose end.
100
It's a delicate yet passionate creation, modest in scope but almost overwhelming in its emotional intricacy, ambition, and resonance. Easily one of the best films so far this year, it's a nearly perfect blend of pimple-faced naturalism, righteous moral fury, nuanced social insight, and unsentimental but devastating drama.
100
Brie Larson, as the caring but tormented Grace (who's pregnant and doesn't know if she has the faith to have her baby), and John Gallagher Jr., as her gentle-dweeb fellow worker Mason (who fears his love can't save her), show you what emotionally naked acting is all about.
100
It's one of the best movies of the year and one of the truest portrayals I've ever seen about troubled teens and the people who dedicate their lives to trying to help them.
90
A genuinely moving look at life in a group foster home that avoids most of the usual routes into viewers' hearts.
90
This compelling human drama finds fresh energy in the inspirational-teacher genre, constantly revealing new layers to its characters.
90
Short Term 12, a low-budget feature only 96 minutes long, is a big deal on a small scale: for what it reveals of Mr. Cretton as a filmmaker - especially as a storyteller, and a director of actors within tautly constructed scenes - and of Ms. Larson's abundant talent.
90
What might seem on paper a cloyingly sentimental heartwarmer becomes, in Cretton's hands, a briskly believable, often funny, always invigorating and ultimately wrenching story of emotional fortitude.
88
Cretton shows as much care and kindness with the minutiae of the daily routine - as he does with the larger issues that plague these lives in flux. He also infuses his story with unexpected humor as the kids hassle each other - and their supervisors - on the road to healing.
88
Rehab movies nearly always make me cringe, as if the audience needs to take medicine, as if hope needs to be force fed. Short Term 12, an exceptional film in every way, breaks the mold.
88
The sophomore feature effort from director Destin Cretton (remaking and expanding upon his 2008 short), this movie avoids the numerous landmines awaiting someone venturing into this territory and, as a result, emerges triumphant.
88
He (Cretton) just loves this place and these people so much, he wanted to give us more of them. For that, we should be grateful.
88
Well-written, terrifically acted and compelling. It deftly avoids sentimentality and offers a window into the lives of believable, multilayered characters.
87
[Brie Larson's] performance is something of a quiet revelation, and in turn, the same could be said of the film itself.
80
Short Term 12 isn't without drawbacks, occasionally dipping into a too-neat narrative tidiness and a self-conscious sloppiness. Yet the film's charms and ability to cut through jadedness despite the subject matter makes it a rarity - a modest indie that's feels like it's in it for the long haul.
80
Short Term 12 wraps up with one of the most touchingly memorable last moments of any film this year. Despite a title that's hard to recall, this brief but resonant movie sticks with you.
75
It doesn't happen all at once, nor does the film imply that coming to terms with one's past is any kind of panacea. Grace's problems are long term, but, like her adolescent charges, one has the sense she'll get by.
75
Larson shines as an adult staffer assigned to keep these self-destructive kids safe while they work with therapists.
75
Any director who sees Short Term 12 will want to cast Larson in something. This movie puts her on the map.
63
There's tremendous dramatic value to the aching and sometimes devastating scenes that home in on these kids' private torments.
60
This is a small film about a society of castoffs, and while it's beautifully acted and often moving, it's also predictable, because it keeps wresting itself into familiar forms.

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