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Short Term 12
: I'm not always a fan of the handheld-poetry-of-kitchen-sinks style of indie drama, but Destin Cretton's Short Term 12
won me over with its sure-handed depiction of a foster facility for at-risk youth run by the troubled Grace (Brie Larson), who masks her pain by committing herself fully to her work. There's not a whole lot more to the movie than that: we meet Grace's boyfriend/coworker, and a few of the kids at the home, and watch as she tries her best to help them, and shuns others' attempts to help her. It could have been a slog, but Cretton shows such sensitivity and warmth toward his subjects that it's almost impossible not to get involved. He also gets great performances from his cast, particularly Larson (also quite good in The Spectacular Now
). It's the kind of movie that's easy to overhype, but also brings some nice social realism to a month filled with a variety of decent indies: this, Spectacular Now
, In a World
, and Ain't Them Bodies Saints
have made up for the wide-release doldrums.