I was so in love at the end of Short Term 12 that my first thought was go back to the start and watch it all over again. I took a breath, saw again the last scene, and went to sleep very grateful to Joe for telling me about this movie.
A sense of enchantment took hold of me during the whole film. To tell such painful and true and strong stories with a delicate tone is something amazing, and some movies do that wondrously. Short Term 12 is one of them.
The thing is, we carry the pain of growing up with us for all our adulthood, until we are able to look at it in the eyes, holding the stare for as long as is needed. We grow up, turn up to be amazing, sensible, centered adults. We find love, a job that makes sense to us. Nothing is perfect, don't get me wrong, but someway we found the strength and courage to keep going. But an terrified child is still in us, crouched in a corner, until we actually look at them with care, attention, affection, and finally give them the love they deserve.
Short Term 12 talks about that in a scenario that we cannot divert our eyes from: child abuse and abandonment. Something that, actually, happens in diverse levels to every kid. And despite the fact that fortunately not everyone had a violent childhood, it is more common that we and the statistics admit. A few years ago, I've read a journalistic piece about how Chile had the highest numbers of child abuse in domestic environment of South America, but no one would admit it. It was - and is, everywhere - hidden behind the closed doors of homes in different economical and social classes. It is around us everywhere, and movies like this tells that to us with a crude and yet delicate honest about it.
Brie Larson's Grace is incredible. She is so human, as the others characters, that I'd like to be her friend, to work with her, to talk to her about a lot of things, so close she was by the way her story was told. The characters are so real they are almost palpable. Grace is the protagonist, and she is admirable in her strenght and humanity and fear, and that a movie is able to picture this in that true manner is something that always amazes me. I think that's why I wanted to go back to the beginning after watching this film: to be with those people that had endured so much, and yet are able to give a lot to others that live the same hell.
Lose the faith in humanity and get it right back is a constant movement in me. And usually, what gives my faith back, renewed and bigger than ever, are people that show with their lives how it is possible to live beautifully, in a simple manner (not in the spectacular way of Hollywood heroes), day by day, with love, a careful attentions to other and companionship, always. And that I have friends like that in my life, not only in the movies, also is a true amazement to me every day.
|Short Term 12. Directed and written by Destin Daniel Cretton. With:|
Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Keith Stanfiel. US, 2013, 96 min. Dolby
Digital, Color (DVD).
PS: I first noticed John Gallagher Jr. in his outstanding and awarded performance in the Broadway musical Spring Awkening, 2006. The two protagonists in the musical were played by Jonnanthan Groff (Looking, 2014) and Lea Michelle (Glee, 2009). John is in my favorite episode of The West Wing, 20 Hours in America: Part One (2002), but I didn't know about him at the time. So, after being amazed by his Moritz Stiefel (that I've only seen in fans videos, unfortunately), I was more attentive to his career, and I was pleased to see him in the last Aaron Sorkin's TV show, The Newsroom, 2012. He seems sweet, and so he gets many nice clumsy guys roles (He is so truly lovable in Short Term 12). But Moritz showed that he is capable of bizarre and strong characters, and I expect that the film and television industries don't forget about that. The following video is from the performance in Tony Awards 2007, the best image available in youtube. John Gallagher Jr. appears around 1'56'', and his brief appearance is able to show how good he is in this role.
PPS: I knew anything about Short Term 12 before watching it. Only after a few minutes into the film that I was able to situate myself in the story, but for a few minutes I didn't know where I was. And piece by piece the puzzle started making sense. Despite not bothering much about spoilers, see a movie without knowing about it is a great chance to be amazed. Disappointment is involved also, sure, but that's life, right?