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.
Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, 2013-12-10
The film's climax feels a little rushed and overwrought, but the movie's real resonance is its exploration of empathy and vocation.
Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail, 2013-11-15
At times Short Term 12 seems uncertain where it's going, but this matches the circumstances of both staff and residents.
Peter Howell, Toronto Star, 2013-11-14
There's heart, soul and personality to burn in 'Short Term 12' ... But this is a film that, like many of its young characters, desperately needs to calm down.
Tom Huddleston, Time Out, 2013-10-29
"Short Term 12" is a sly wonder of a film. It brings you into its unique world and then slowly reveals its characters, letting them unfold gradually, organically.
Tom Long, Detroit News, 2013-09-20
It's one of the best movies of the year and one of the truest portrayals I've ever seen about troubled teens and the people who dedicate their lives to trying to help them.
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times, 2013-09-13
Short Term 12 captures the complex rhythms of institutional life -- for worker and inhabitant -- while weaving the story of Grace's journey through anguish toward, we hope, happiness.
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post, 2013-09-13
"Short Term 12" may sound like confinement, but it's a redemptive and even funny film that invites us to stay and grow.
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2013-09-13
This surprising little sleeper will give you more big feelings in its first 15 minutes than every one of last summer's blockbusters combined.
Kristin Tillotson, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2013-09-12
Don't be put off by its forgettable title. Short Term 12 is a deeply memorable film.
Claudia Puig, USA Today, 2013-09-12
"Short Term 12" is the kind of teen-oriented movie that's often dismissed as an "after-school special," but thanks to a nimble young cast it's frequently better than that.
John Hartl, Seattle Times, 2013-09-05
Tender, funny and real as a kick in the ribs.
John Anderson, Newsday, 2013-09-05
A compact masterpiece of storytelling that brims equally with ambition and humility. It is, by a wide margin, the best film I have seen so far this year.
Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, 2013-09-05
This is a film about hurt and healing, isolation and fear, need and rage - and it's not just the motley, messed-up crew of 14- and 15-year-olds who are trying to cope, trying to get better.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2013-08-30
Any director who sees "Short Term 12" will want to cast Larson in something. This movie puts her on the map.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, 2013-08-29
It's a lovely, tough-minded film.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2013-08-29
"Short Term 12" is that rare movie gutsy enough to tell the truth about love: that it's not a poetic longing or a magical-thinking happy ending, but a skill. And, the film suggests, we all have the capacity to learn it.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 2013-08-29
An emotionally authentic examination of the lives of those who live in and work at a children's home where the lines between the inhabitants and the caretakers isn't as clear as one might suppose.
James Berardinelli, ReelViews, 2013-08-29
This movie has the dash and esprit of service comedies like MASH and the harrowing emotions of misunderstood youth films like The 400 Blows.
Michael Sragow, Orange County Register, 2013-08-29
An authentic drama couched in character that never stoops to manipulation.
Barbara VanDenburgh, Arizona Republic, 2013-08-29