Monday, January 12, 2015

Short Term 12

This is a lovely little film directed and written by Destin Cretton (new to me) from the autumn of 2013.

It is set in a centre / care home for troubled children and young people. None of the cast were particularly familiar to me.

As Nate is introduced to his new co-workers over the opening credits we are led to suspect this will be about a fish-out-of-water posh kid learning to understand deprivation for the first time. In fact Nate isn't the star of the show; the whole cast is.

We visit a team of caring care-workers - sometimes working with the therapists who offer more directed interventions into the young lives and sometimes kicking against them - and we observe day-to-day interactions. We are left to marvel at the patience shown by thousands of such employees around the world day-by-day. This film is a counter to the bad stories about abuse in such establishments.

Sometimes a barrier is broken by shared artwork; sometimes by rhythm and rap. It is about being incarnational and looking for connections.

That said, all is not well. Even the carers have their demons and through gentle dialogue and a number of scenes where 'show' is used much better than 'tell' we learn more.

This is a tough place to work, a tough place to grow up and yet, because the problems are real, the redemption, when it comes, is too. So a troubled young girl can help a worker, who has buried her own past, to deal with it.

The book-ending of two, almost identical, scenes is a lovely framing device to start and finish. That they mean different things is all to do with context.

Great performances. Only 96 minutes of your life needed and I rented my copy from Amazon for 99p. Best use of money this year.

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