Watched: Short Term 12
Oh my word, this was masterful. This film - about a group of workers at a short term care facility for underprivileged or at-risk young people - is in the sort of category that could too easily turn into melodrama or schmaltz, but it deftly avoids both. Instead, it retains a perfect balance between comedy and tragedy - there’s darkness here, but also just enough sweetness to counter it without invalidating anything.
Brie Larson is phenomenal (I mean, everyone is - John Gallagher Jr. is perfect too, and each of the kids in this film turns in a performance that feels aggressively natural), and there’s never a moment that feels like it’s playing to the balcony. You get the sense that the director (Destin Daniel Cretton, a relative newcomer) really knows how to respect actors, and they’re allowed enough space to - well - act. That space allows for performances that are nuanced and careful treatments of some incredibly weighty subjects - each character feels like an individual, rather than just a receptacle for trauma.
There is stuff here that might deter those averse to media with content warnings attached - abuse is the major one, though suicide also crops up - but if those aren’t triggers (and I mean triggers, here, because none of the upsetting content in here is played up or down) then I cannot recommend this enough. It might be the best film I’ve seen so far this year.