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Rated R · 96 minutes · 2013
Set in a foster-care facility outside of San Francisco, this independent drama is vivid and heartfelt in its depiction of social work, at times recalling some of Frederick Wiseman's great documentary portraits. Writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton (expanding on his 2008 short of the same name) once worked at a center like the one in the film, and you can feel the influence of firsthand experience in the immediacy of the action and specificity of detail. This feels somewhat contrived in its narrative mechanics, yet it gets so many things right—about state bureaucracy, the ways children internalize abuse, and working life in general—that the shortcomings are easy to overlook. The young actors who play the foster kids are extraordinary (you never sense they're grabbing for your heartstrings), and Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr. are also impressive as dedicated care providers at the center.


See our full review: <i>Film School Shorts</i> spotlights student filmmakers in Chicago and all across America

Film School Shorts spotlights student filmmakers in Chicago and all across America

The weekly half-hour series, which airs in Chicago beginning September 11, showcases outstanding student-directed short films from across the country. »

<i>Short Term 12</i>: A clear-eyed valentine to social services

Short Term 12: A clear-eyed valentine to social services

Destin Daniel Cretton's indie drama captures the vitality as well as the chaos of a foster-care facility. »

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Official Site: shortterm12.com
Director: Destin Cretton
Producer: Asher Goldstein, Maren Olson, Joshua Astrachan, Ron Najor, Frederick Green, Douglas Stone and David Kaplan
Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Stephanie Beatriz, Rami Malek, Alex Calloway, Kevin Hernandez, Keith Stanfield and Frantz Turner

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Short Term 12

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