SHORT TERM PARKING This fantastic indie drama about foster kids strikes a great balance between inevitable sadness and family happiness
Credit: Brett Pawlak

The best indie movies give you the feeling that their directors not only wanted but needed to make them. That’s certainly true of Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12, a drama of astonishing emotional purity that has the novel setting of a group foster home. It’s about a crew of teenagers, deeply troubled and out of sorts, who live in drab institutional rooms and try to patch their community of fellow foster children into a makeshift family. The situation has a built-in heartbreak, but Cretton doesn’t milk it. Instead, he lets each character strike a note of lived-in reality that is rarely found on screen. Short Term 12 lures you into passion and trauma: the staggeringly hopeless diary-of-a-lost-boy rap performed by Marcus (Keith Stanfield), the moodiest and most brilliant of the kids, or the journey from self-mutilation to shaky redemption undergone by Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), who masks her innocence in attitude. The home is run by counselors who are former foster children themselves. Brie Larson, as the caring but tormented Grace (who’s pregnant and doesn’t know if she has the faith to have her baby), and John Gallagher Jr., as her gentle-dweeb fellow worker Mason (who fears his love can’t save her), show you what emotionally naked acting is all about. A

Short Term 12
  • Movie
  • 96 minutes