DRAMA; 1hr 33min
STARRING: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr, Kaitlyn Dever, Keith Stanfield
Amazing Grace: Larson and Stanfield
To work on the floor in a foster home takes the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job and a ton of other noble biblical qualities well beyond most people’s reach. As a driving force in the Short Term 12 children’s unit, Grace (The Spectacular Now ’s Larson) has a lot going on. Eighteen-year-old Marcus (Stanfield), who radiates defensive misery, doesn’t want to leave and is acting out his aggro. New kid on the block Jayden (Dever) wears a big, surly, Back Off shoulder chip. Then there’s the personal stuff that Grace’s mellow boyfriend and co-worker, Mason (Gallagher), can’t manage to get close to.
Although you sense her pervasive tension in the empathetic Larson’s concentrated gaze and restlessly picking fingers, Grace seems to be making out okay, her pragmatic understanding honed by her own difficult and lingering history. But cushioning falls all day can be rough, and writer-director Destin Cretton and his great, in-your-face cast don’t sugar-coat one immediate, raw-boned minute. From the easy-going chemistry of the grabber opening scene, you are front and centre.