Short Term 12

I’d heard for some time I needed to see the film Short Term 12.  Those recommending it were right: Short Term 12 is a raw, artfully-crafted, deeply moving experience.  After we watched it Saturday evening, my wife Rachel expressed, “That was one of the most amazing, beautiful films I have seen in a very long time.”

The critics agreed, giving it a 99% positive (the highest I’ve ever seen) on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were nearly as effusive, with 92% giving it thumbs up.  Like any excellent art, it speaks truthfully of both ache and hope, touching the sorrow and loveliness of our world.

I’d add a strong caveat. The film is as rough as the realities it portrays. At moments, the emotional experience is harrowing. The language, too, is heavily laced with expletives from the first scene to the last.

So I don’t recommend it lightly. Truth be told, Christians often justify drinking sewage from their TV screens far too easily. The things we habitually dwell upon shape us—our minds, hearts and ultimately our actions.  So we must take more seriously than we do choices about the art we ingest, even (perhaps especially) if we imagine “it’s just entertainment.”  That said, I think this film passes the test, and I’d recommend it to any adult that is serious about better understanding the hurt and hopes of older children in the foster system.

You can read a thoughtful interview with the film’s writer-director, Destin Daniel Cretton or visit the film’s official site.