For a low-budget indie drama, this is a great film. It made some waves when it released last year, and the performances are gripping. Particularly good is Brie Larson, who is the main character.These are damaged kids, all of them, trying to make the best of a bad situation. The facility warehouses the kids taken out of their toxic households. The heroes are the staff who are charged with keeping them safe, with only the minimal authority to help them.
The story gets into the psychological damage that isn’t so easily overcome, not even years later. It’s a well structured story, and the writer/director Destin Cretton drew on years of working in such a facility to make it real. The stories are largely true, but fictionalized.
The supporting cast also shines, young people with severe issues, the kind that are difficult to bring to the screen. Short Term 12 is an emotional story that works, and should be added to the queue.