starring Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek
written and directed by Destin Cretton
by Angelo Muredda Of all the specious arguments thrown around during awards season, the most enervating may be the contention, popular among early champions of films that are near-universally acclaimed on the festival circuit, that the first negative reactions to said films are simply backlash. Backlash, the logic goes, is a latecomer's insincere negative reaction to a title he or she did not have the opportunity to praise when it was still hip to do so--lateness presumably being the only reason a person might have problems with a critical darling. Let it be said, then, that while I could not shake my own feelings of belatedness while recently watching Destin Cretton's routine Short Term 12, which came out of festivals as diverse as SXSW and Locarno relatively unscathed, my response owes less to my unseasonable viewing conditions than to the film's own curious belatedness, its tendency to rehash old-fashioned 1950s moralism about family-planning and Dangerous Minds-derivative solemnity about underprivileged teens in a faux-authentic new package.