Short Term 12

This seems to be the name of a foster-care facility for at-risk youngsters up to age 18 when foster care is no longer an option. Our 2013 Seattle International Film Festival screening crowd was pleasantly surprised by the (slightly clich├ęd) individual stories that evolved over the course of this entry from the USA.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who also wrote the screenplay, we become acquainted with a variety of youthful charges and their surprisingly youthful counselors. We see one (almost) 18-year-old boy anxiously prepare to face the world outside of an institution; we watch one boy whose only comfort is his tiny little toys...then they are taken from him; we worry about a teenage girl enrolled parttime in the program by her father who wants her home with him on the weekends.

The counselors are also a mixed bag: the central one is a young woman who shows amazing insight into the way she reaches her young charges. Plus she teaches them to vent by striking out at inanimate objects, NOT people. Her co-worker/boyfriend is an excellent example of how a foster family can work! Another co-worker is astonishingly tone deaf as he introduces himself on his first day at work. We see that these counselors sometimes need a bit of counseling of their own.

This is not a film designed to trash institutions, but instead an involving and interesting study of a variety of good people we want to see succeed. Yes, I said it: People we can root for!

Rated R (there is some highly profane rapping), there is a line I like: I live a life not knowing what a normal life's like.
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Here is a preview:
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