This is a good article. Follow the link for more information.

Short Term 12

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Short Term 12
Short Term 12 Theatrical Poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Produced by Maren Olson
Asher Goldstein
Joshua Astrachan
Ron Najor
Written by Destin Daniel Cretton
Starring Brie Larson
John Gallagher, Jr.
Kaitlyn Dever
Rami Malek
Lakeith Stanfield
Kevin Hernandez
Melora Walters
Music by Joel P. West
Cinematography Brett Pawlak
Edited by Nat Sanders
Demarest Films
Traction Media
Animal Kingdom
Distributed by Cinedigm
Release date
  • March 10, 2013 (2013-03-10) (SXSW)
  • August 23, 2013 (2013-08-23) (United States)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget under $1 million[2]
Box office $2.3 million[3]

Short Term 12 is a 2013 American independent drama film written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. The film is based on Cretton's short film of the same name, produced in 2009. It stars Brie Larson as Grace Howard, the supervisor of a group home for troubled teenagers. The film marked Larson's first leading performance of her career.

Cretton was inspired to write Short Term 12 based on his own experience of working in a group facility for teenagers. He first wrote and produced a short film based on the idea and later adapted it into a feature-length screenplay. While Larson and John Gallagher, Jr. won their roles after auditioning through Skype, most of the children featured in the film were cast through open casting calls. Filming took place over 20 days in Los Angeles, California in September 2012.

Short Term 12 premiered on March 10, 2013 at the South by Southwest film festival and was released in theaters on August 23, 2013. Made on a budget of less than $1 million and given a limited release, the film brought in strong box office receipts, grossing over $2.3 million.[2] The film received unanimous acclaim from critics who appreciated the film's realism and intimacy, drawing particular attention to Larson's performance and Cretton's screenplay and direction. Considered one of the best films of 2013, the film was amongst National Board of Review's Top 10 independent films of 2013 and won SXSW's Grand Jury and Audience Awards for a Narrative Feature, as well as earning three Independent Spirit Award nominations.


Grace Howard (Brie Larson) is the young supervisor of Short Term 12, a group home for troubled teenagers. She lives with her long-term boyfriend and coworker, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), but finds it difficult to open up to him emotionally. When Grace finds out she is pregnant, she schedules an appointment for an abortion; she eventually tells an overjoyed Mason about the pregnancy, but not about her plan to have an abortion. At the facility, Grace and Mason focus their efforts on Marcus (Lakeith Stanfield), a Short Term 12 resident who is about to turn 18 and is struggling with the prospect of leaving the facility.

Grace bonds with Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever) a recent arrival at Short Term 12 who has a history of self-harm. Jayden distances herself from the other teenagers as she does not intend to stay at the facility for long, and when her father fails to pick her up on her birthday, she reacts violently towards the staff. After her outburst, she sits in the "cool-down room" with Grace, who shows Jayden her own scars from cutting herself. That night, Jayden leaves the facility in the middle of her birthday celebrations and, unable to force her to return, Grace follows Jayden to her father's house. After finding the house empty, they return to Short Term 12. When Jayden reads Grace a cryptic story she has written, Grace begins to suspect that Jayden was abused by her father.

At a party hosted by Mason's foster parents, he proposes to Grace, who accepts. The following morning, Grace is upset by a phone call that reveals her father is being released from prison, and refuses to be consoled by Mason. She arrives at Short Term 12 to discover that Jayden has been picked up by her father overnight. She is angry at the decision to send Jayden back to her father, but her boss maintains that Jayden denied that she was abused by him. Later that day, Grace finds that Marcus has attempted to commit suicide after the death of his fish.

While waiting at the hospital as Marcus is being treated, Grace breaks down and Mason becomes upset with her for refusing to talk to him about how she feels; instead, she tells him that she no longer wants to marry him and that she plans to have an abortion. Upset, she returns to Jayden's father's house and breaks in, intending to injure him while he sleeps, but she is interrupted by Jayden, who suggests that they smash his car instead. Grace opens up to Jayden about being sexually abused by her own father, and after Jayden shows Grace bruises from where her father hit her they return together to Short Term 12, where Jayden reports her father for physical abuse. Grace goes home to apologize to Mason, who tells her that Marcus will recover.

Several weeks later, Grace starts seeing a therapist and she is shown viewing an ultrasound with Mason. Mason tells the rest of the staff about running into Marcus, who is doing well and has a girlfriend.



Destin Daniel Cretton based Short Term 12 on his experiences working in a similar facility.

Short Term 12 was originally conceived by Destin Daniel Cretton as a short film based on his experiences as a line staff worker at a group facility for teenagers where he had worked for two years; it served as his thesis project for his Master's degree in film at San Diego State University.[4][5]:5 The short film ran for 22 minutes and premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking.[4] After graduating from film school, Cretton decided to adapt the short into a feature-length screenplay, which won one of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' five Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting in 2010.[5]:5 The largest change Cretton made when adapting the short film into a longer screenplay was changing the lead character's gender: Denim, a man loosely based on Cretton himself, became Grace, a young woman and the facility's supervisor.[5]:5[6] Cretton researched similar facilities and interviewed former employees for the film, noting that the script featured stories directly told by children in these facilities from his interviews.[7]

Brie Larson auditioned for the role of Grace via Skype after the script had been sent to her;[8] John Gallagher, Jr. also won his role after a Skype conversation with Cretton, calling the screenplay "probably the best script that I've been sent, ever".[9] Larson and Gallagher prepared for their roles by shadowing line staff at a group home similar to that in the film, and collaborated to create backstories for their characters.[5]:7–8 Lakeith Stanfield was the only actor from the original short film to reprise his role in the feature.[5]:10 Cretton struggled to contact Stanfield when casting the film in 2012—Stanfield had stopped acting, left his managers, and did not own a cell phone—but Cretton was eventually able to reach him by email to tape an audition.[5]:10[10] Most of the children featured in the film were cast through open casting calls, and most had no prior acting experience.[10] Alex Calloway, who played Sammy, found a casting call through Craigslist and won the role after sending in a cell phone video audition.[5]:8

The film was shot over 20 days in September 2012.[5]:5 Filming took place in Los Angeles, and scenes set at the group home were shot at a former short-stay facility located near the neighborhood of Sylmar.[6][11] The film was edited by Nat Sanders as it was filmed. Both the original cut of the film and the shortened director's cut were over 2 hours long, whereas Cretton wanted the final cut to be under 100 minutes.[12] Sanders said that the original cut of the film felt too heavy and "made you feel pretty depressed about humanity", so a number of scenes were deleted or trimmed to "lighten up" the film's mood, with a final running time of 96 minutes.[12]


Short Term 12 premiered in March 2013 at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, where it won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards in the Narrative Feature category and was purchased for distribution by Cinedigm.[13] Its international premiere was held at the Locarno Film Festival in August 2013, where it received a standing ovation.[13]

In theaters, the film was given a platform release: on August 23, it was released in Los Angeles and New York City, expanding the next weekend to Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Berkeley, and progressively expanding to more cities until its widest release on September 13.[14]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $56,206 in its opening weekend, playing in four theaters, with a per-theater average of $14,052 that was considered a strong result by Forbes magazine's Mark Hughes.[2] Overall, it earned a total of $1,013,100 in North America over a total of 26 weeks in theaters, with a widest release of 75 theaters, and $632,064 outside the United States for a total of $1,645,164.[15][16]

Critical response[edit]

Brie Larson's performance in her first lead role received widespread praise from critics.

Short Term 12 received universal critical acclaim, with critics praising its performances and storytelling. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 99% based on 153 reviews, with an average rating of 8.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Short Term 12 is an emphatic, revealing drama that pulls audiences into the perspective of neglected youths."[17] It is one of ten films to earn a 99% (six other films) or 100% (three films) rating on the website. On Metacritic the film has a weighted average of 86 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[18]

Germain Lussier of /Film wrote of the film, "The whole thing just feels perfect or magical, a shining example of what cinema is all about", adding, "The performances are mindblowing, the writing sharp, and the direction beautiful. It's a very special movie."[19] In Variety, critic Peter Debruge wrote, "the stunning SXSW fest winner puts the recent Park City competition lineup to shame ... this compelling human drama finds fresh energy in the inspirational-teacher genre, constantly revealing new layers to its characters."[20] In a review for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan described Short Term 12 as "a small wonder", "a film of exceptional naturalness and empathy", and "moving and intimate", offering particular praise to the film's honesty and plausibility.[21] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, on the other hand, criticized the film's credibility, describing it as "well intentioned, but somehow inauthentic" with a "too-cute-to-be-true ending".[22]

The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore called the film "genuinely moving" and "effortlessly balanced ... Brett Pawlak's handheld camerawork and Cretton's unsentimental direction have a frankness that acknowledges the dramatic extremes in these lives without needing to parade it before the audience."[23] Manohla Dargis from The New York Times also praised Cretton's direction, saying he "brings you into this coed group home and the lives of its inhabitants casually, with images and scenes that, no matter how transparently considered, feel as if they had been caught on the fly."[24]

Brie Larson's performance as Grace was singled out for praise by critics. Katie Walsh of Indiewire wrote, "[Larson] manages to convey her character as someone fierce and strong and steely, and also utterly fragile, delicate, scared and broken ... It's an incredible emotional and physical performance, and she's a whirlwind."[25] Similarly, Empire critic Ian Freer felt that Larson gave "a whirling dervish of a performance ... She, like the film, breaks your heart and raises your spirit in one fell swoop."[26]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
Austin Film Critics Association[27] December 17, 2013 Best Film Nominated
Best Actress Brie Larson Won
Breakthrough Artist Won
Black Reel Awards[28] February 13, 2014 Best Supporting Actor Lakeith Stanfield Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
CinEuphoria Awards January 16, 2014 Best Actress: International Competition Brie Larson Won
Chicago Film Critics Association[29] December 16, 2013 Best Actress Brie Larson Nominated
Most Promising Filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton Won
Critics' Choice Movie Awards[30] January 16, 2014 Best Actress Brie Larson Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society[31] December 13, 2013 Best Film Nominated
Best Actress Brie Larson Won
Breakthrough Won
Best Screenplay Destin Daniel Cretton Nominated
Flanders International Film Festival Ghent[32] October 22, 2013 Port of Ghent Public Choice Award Won
Gotham Independent Film Awards[33] December 2, 2013 Best Actress Brie Larson Won
Hamptons International Film Festival[34] October 14, 2013 Breakthrough Performer Brie Larson Won
IndieWire Critics Poll[35] December 17, 2013 Best Lead Performance Brie Larson 6th place
Top 50 films of the year Short Term 12 16th place
Independent Spirit Awards[36] March 1, 2014 Best Female Lead Brie Larson Nominated
Best Supporting Male Lakeith Stanfield Nominated
Best Editing Nat Sanders Won
Locarno International Film Festival[37] August 17, 2013 Golden Leopard Nominated
Best Actress Brie Larson Won
Junior Jury Award (International Competition) Destin Daniel Cretton Won
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Won
Los Angeles Film Festival[38] June 23, 2013 Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature Won
Little Rock Film Festival[39] May 19, 2013 Narrative Feature Won
Maui Film Festival[40][41] June 18, 2013 Narrative Feature Drama Won
Rising Star Award Brie Larson Won
Nantucket Film Festival[42] June 30, 2013 Screenwriting in a Feature Film Destin Daniel Cretton Won
National Board of Review[43] December 4, 2013 Top Independent Films Won
Online Film Critics Society[44] December 16, 2013 Best Picture Nominated
Best Actress Brie Larson Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Destin Daniel Cretton Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society[45] December 11, 2013 Best Film Nominated
Best Director Destin Daniel Cretton Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
Best Actress Brie Larson Nominated
Best Performance by an Ensemble Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle[46] December 15, 2013 Best Actress Brie Larson Nominated
Santa Barbara International Film Festival[47] February 4, 2014 Virtuoso Award Brie Larson Won
Satellite Awards[48] February 23, 2014 Best Original Song "So You Know What It's Like", written by Lakeith Stanfield and Destin Daniel Cretton Nominated
South by Southwest Film Festival[13] March 16, 2013 Narrative Feature Won
Audience Award: Narrative Feature Won
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival[49] November 30, 2013 Best Youth Film Nominated
Best Film Won
Valladolid International Film Festival[50] October 26, 2013 Official Section Audience Award Won


  1. ^ "Short Term 12 (15)". Verve Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. September 13, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Hughes, Mark (August 27, 2013). "2013's Best Film 'Short Term 12' Does Strong Business In Limited Release". Forbes. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Short Term 12 (2013)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Goldstein, Jessica (August 31, 2013). "'Short Term 12' writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton on real-life inspiration behind his film". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Short Term 12" (PDF) (Press release). Verve Pictures. 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Olsen, Mark (August 24, 2013). "'Short Term 12' beats long odds". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ Caceda, Eden (December 17, 2013). "Finding A Voice". Filmink. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ Williams, Alex (September 15, 2013). "Brie Larson talks about filming "Short Term 12"". The Daily Texan. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  9. ^ Stone, Abbey (August 29, 2013). "John Gallagher Jr. On 'The Best Script He's Been Sent in 14 Years' (And It's Not By Aaron Sorkin)". Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Zakarin, Jordan (March 13, 2013). "SXSW: How 'Short Term 12's' Brie Larson, Destin Cretton and Some Kids Won the Festival's Top Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ Cuttler, Andrea (August 21, 2013). "Short Term 12's Brie Larson: Shadowing Foster-Care Workers "Changed Me for the Rest of My Life"". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Davidson, Jaye Sarah (February 28, 2014). "FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT: Behind the Screen with Short Term 12 Editor Nat Sanders". Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c Hopewell, John (August 11, 2013). "Memento Rolls Out 'Short Term 12' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  14. ^ Lussier, Germain (August 20, 2013). "/Film Interview: 'Short Term 12′ Director Destin Daniel Cretton". /Film. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Short Term 12: Summary". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Short Term 12: Foreign". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Short Term 12". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Short Term 12 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  19. ^ Lussier, Germain (August 24, 2013). "'Short Term 12' Review: SXSW Grand Jury Winner Is a Funny, Emotional Piece of Cinematic Perfection". /Film. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  20. ^ Debruge, Peter (March 12, 2013). "SXSW Review: 'Short Term 12′". Variety. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  21. ^ Turan, Kenneth (August 22, 2013). "Review: The exceptional 'Short Term 12' comes by its pain honestly". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  22. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (November 1, 2013). "Short Term 12 - review". The Guardian. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  23. ^ DeFore, John (March 14, 2013). "Short Term 12: SXSW Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  24. ^ Dargis, Manhola (August 23, 2013). "Caretakers Needing Some Care Themselves". The New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  25. ^ Walsh, Katie (March 10, 2013). "SXSW Review: 'Short Term 12' A Heartrending, Heartwarming & Authentic Portrait of Life At A Foster Care Facility". Indiewire. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  26. ^ Freer, Ian. "Short Term 12". Empire. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  27. ^ "'Her' Tops Austin Film Critics Association 2013 Awards". Austin Film Critics Association. December 17, 2013. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  28. ^ "The 14th Annual Black Reel Awards Nominations". Black Reel Awards. December 18, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  29. ^ "2013 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Winners". Rotten Tomatoes. December 16, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  30. ^ "American Hustle, 12 Years A Slave Lead BFCA's Critics Choice Movie Awards Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  31. ^ "The 2013 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards". Detroit Film Critics Society. December 13, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  32. ^ "The winners of Film Fest Gent". Flanders International Film Festival Ghent. October 22, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  33. ^ Rosen, Christopher (December 2, 2013). "Gotham Awards 2013 Winners Include Brie Larson, 'Llewyn Davis'". The Huffington Post. 
  34. ^ "Short Term 12". North of Superior Film Association. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  35. ^ "2013 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Winners". Rotten Tomatoes. December 16, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  36. ^ Atkinson, Katie (March 1, 2014). "Independent Spirit Awards 2014: The winners list". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Palmarès" (PDF) (Press release). Festival del film Locarno. August 17, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 9, 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  38. ^ Thompson, Anne (June 23, 2013). "LAFF Winners: 'Mother, I Love You,' 'Code Black' Win Jury Awards; Audience Awards Go to 'Short Term 12,' 'Wadjda,' 'American Revolutionary'". Indiewire. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  39. ^ Millar, Lindsey (May 23, 2013). "Little Rock Film Festival's downtown debut a success". Arkansas Times. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  40. ^ Tekula, Sara (June 18, 2013). "2013 Maui Film Festival Audience Awards Announced". Maui Film Festival. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Rising Star Award Tribute to Brie Larson". Maui Film Festival. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Awards". Nantucket Film Festival. June 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  43. ^ Davis, Clayton (December 4, 2013). "National Board of Review Chooses 'Her' as Best Film, Will Forte and Octavia Spencer Land Wins". The Awards Circuit. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  44. ^ "The Online Film Critics Society Announces 17th Annual Awards". Online Film Critics Society. December 9, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  45. ^ "San Diego Film Critics Nominate Top Films for 2013". San Diego Film Critics Society. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  46. ^ Lodge, Guy (December 13, 2013). "'Wolf of Wall Street' lands some top mentions". HitFix. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  47. ^ Feinberg, Scott (January 23, 2014). "Santa Barbara Film Fest to Recognize Seven Performers With Virtuosos Award". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  48. ^ Kilday, Gregg (December 2, 2013). "Satellite Awards: '12 Years a Slave' Leads Film Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  49. ^ "About the Festival". Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  50. ^ "Seminci, Valladolid International Film Festival 2014". Valladolid International Film Festival. Archived from the original on January 23, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]