Short Term 12

With much dismay, I discovered my Netflix “Watch list” was entirely populated with TV shows instead of movies, but I didn’t want that sort of commitment at the moment. I wanted to be in and out with closure in under two hours, man. Since Netflix has completely castrated their ratings and sorting options to be beyond useless, I did a search for “Highest rated movies on Netflix” and the internet did not fail me. The first movie in the list that I had not already seen was Short Term 12. My husband declined to watch it with me, citing that it looked like it had “too many feelings” in it, which was fair enough. I, however, have been writing a story that has a subplot involving foster children, so I thought it looked pretty interesting.

Straight up front: This was a good movie and I enjoyed it. It stars Brie Larson (before she was famous), Rami Malek (before he was famous), and John Gallagher Jr. (to which my husband glanced over and said “Hey, it’s that guy” so maybe before he was famous too?), all working in a care home for, as Rami Malek’s character so eloquently stuffs his foot in his mouth to describe, ‘disadvantaged children’.

This movie is about broken people, and it does a fantastic job of portraying how broken they are without jamming their backstories down your throat. You see them. They are broken. And there are just enough hints as to why they are broken that you don’t ask any more questions. But it never preaches at you, which I really appreciated.

That said, the plot isn’t really anything special. It’s interesting, and there are a few points in the story where I was thinking “Oh man, so this could go either this way or that way, and both of those are pretty unique twists in this story!” Instead of either of those things, it went for the absolute most vanilla storybook ending possible, which, under these circumstances, actually made it less believable than any of the more unique alternatives. For that reason alone I kinda disagree with the 98% that is currently displayed on Rotten Tomatoes. This movie could have taken some risks and really been something. Although, I have come across a comment or two about how they had to edit it a number of times because it was simply too depressing, which is maybe why it went the route that they did. Unfortunately, I think it makes the movie stumble a bit right at the end, which is a shame, but ultimately it doesn’t ruin anything.

But boy.  The depictions of emotions in this movie are, for the most part, on point.  When a character is feeling something, you feel it.  When a character is acting irrationally, you have a good idea why.  It was well done and well written.
Except for the ending.

More ramblings about that past the spoiler break: Read more of this post