I feel like we’ve all just been waiting for a break-out role for Brie Larson, or at least I have. I think I first fell in love with her during her run on United States Of Tara, a fantastic show if you haven’t checked it out, and have loved her in everything since. She has that look in her of an attractive girl, yes, of course, but always in the role of the girl who takes nobody’s shit and is usually the strong and rational one in whatever role she seems to be inhabiting. Short Term 12 is really just a manifestation of everything she can do, and she pulls it off with aplomb.
The film itself deals with caretakers at a foster-care home, and its varied inhabitants. Of course, with this material it lends credence to it being incredibly cheesy, sappy and easy to go at your heart strings in the worst way possible. Getting you to care about these kids and people through trials and tribulations, it’s an easy formula that has been exploited in the past. The troubles of Larson’s character and her boyfriend (John Gallagher, Jr.) provide an added depth of understanding to why these people endure all of this. It earns a lot of its resolutions and breakthroughs with these kids, seeing what they’ve been through and deals with it on a personal level in such that even if you haven’t experiences these feelings, you understand a notion of its undertaking.
It’s deeply funny as well, as often these deep-seated films about troubled youth are, it has its moments of absolute pain, but also find the humour and levity in the position these people are in and how they deal with it. Larson is perfectly tailored for both emotions and allows us the perfect conduit to feel the whole breadth of what the film is putting forth.