Monday, September 02, 2013

Short Term 12

     This new Indie drama is a star turn for Brie Larson. It's a powerful story about a young counselor in a temporary housing facility for troubled teens. Ms. Larson is probably best known for playing Toni Collette's daughter on Showtime's "The United States of Tara" but she takes center stage here and is remarkable in a multi-layered performance.

       Ms. Larson's character Grace is very good at her job. She connects easily with her troubled charges, having come from a troubled past herself. When a new girl (Kaitlin Dever) arrives with a similar history, Grace's own demons come back to haunt her, further complicating a new situation.

        Ms. Larson radiates raw honesty and emotion in a complex character. It is an award winning performance. Ms. Dever shows skills beyond her years as she bonds with Ms. Larson. Co-starring is John Gallagher Jr. as Manson, another counselor and Grace's boyfriend. Mr. Gallagher Jr.'s performance is not a far stretch from his character on the HBO series "The Newsroom" but he is adapt at "likable boy next door" roles and he brings much warmth to his role. Rami Malek adds some comic relief as a new counselor learning how to understand the kids. The other actors portraying the residents of "Short Term 12" are all very good but as they are written, the standout performances go to Kevin Hernandez and Keith Stanfield.

          This is a small but powerful drama that deserves an audience. it should garner many nominations for "Independent Spirit" awards.

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