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  • Writer's pictureTroy Kinney

Short Term 12


Finally watched Short Term 12 on Amazon Prime Video last night. It’s been in my queue for quite a while. Wow.

This film has been talked about a lot. It has won awards and has received much acclaim. It deserves all of it. But what I truly believe it is about, what it contains, the characters, emotion, direction is not as important as to what it is absent of.

The film is about characters that work and live in a short-term care facility for troubled youth. It is about the struggle to be human in a world of neglect, abuse, drugs, betrayal and brokenness. The adults that work with these kids are patient, strong and caring. Above all, they have hope. My question in part, I suppose, is how? How do they have hope?

Grace is our protagonist and works at the house Short Term 12. Her boyfriend Mason works with her. Both of these characters have a checkered past. Mason was a child who grew up in the foster system and Grace has her own troubled story from which she hides tries to hide. As a side note, I do not believe that these names are random choices. They are purposeful. Grace and Mason now help kids that were just like them.

Again, I ask why? Why are they helping? It definitely is not lucrative to have their jobs. They probably get paid worse than public school teachers in Arizona.

Now I ask my real question because, throughout the whole film, there is a gaping hole. It isn’t discussed and it isn’t mentioned. What is the hole? It is the Church. Where is the church? Where are the “faithful”? I doubt many churchgoers will even dare watch this film. I mean it is so filled with F-words, disrespectful kids, and adults that get pregnant outside of marriage. It must be filled with filth. It is! The world is often a filthy place filled with broken lives.

Many times, I wonder why more of those in the church don’t act like Howard Beale in the movie Network. Why we don’t break open our doors and windows and start shouting, “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!” (It is probably because he is yelling and saying the word hell). Seriously.

I do know that there are many faithful that are helping and working out there, but too many aren’t.

I am not saying you have to watch movies to be incited to help society. Besides, what “good church going believer” would even dare press play on a film that is obviously rated R?

Then there will be others that will watch it will say that it’s the parent’s fault, the society, the school system. They are to blame. Maybe so.

The thing those in the church must ask sometimes is: Who is responsible? I mean, if a helpless infant is left on our doorstep, it may not be our fault, but it is definitely our responsibility. These kids are sitting at our doorstep.

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