Documentary-style authenticity gives this understated drama a real kick as it explores the fallout of child abuse from an angle we'd never expect. But this isn't the usual devastatingly gloomy approach, as filmmaker Cretton creates people and situations that are so honest that we have no trouble identifying with them. And he remains realistic and hopeful about the future.
The story centres on Grace (Larson), a counsellor at a short-term group home for at-risk teens. She's secretly in a relationship with her colleague Mason (Gallagher), and has a shock when she learns that she's pregnant. The real surprise is how this news dredges up memories of her own troubled childhood. But she doesn't have much time to take care of herself, because she, Mason and their coworkers (Malek and Beatriz) have a variety of kids who need their help. These include Marcus (Stanfield), who's about to turn 18 and move out on his own, and new arrival Jayden (Dever), who keeps trying to run away to see her abusive father.
Writer-director Cretton reveals Grace's personal history only as she's willing to face it herself. This allows Larson to deliver a remarkably transparent performance, as we see her confronting things she won't admit to herself. Her scenes with Gallagher are packed with jagged emotion as all of these issues swell up around them. And we can see that Mason's past in much more stable foster homes has given him more tools to handle these things.
Continue reading: Short Term 12 Review
Sam Waterston, Olivia Munn, Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Sadoski, Jeff Daniels, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill and Dev Patel - Celebrities attend the premiere of HBO's 'The Newsroom' Season 2 - Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 10th July 2013
John Gallagher Jr. and John Gallagher - John Gallagher Jr. and Daryl Hall New York City, USA - attending 'Lean On Me' the 6th Annual Our Time Theatre Gala at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU Monday 14th April 2008
"Pieces of April" is a Murphy's-Law Thanksgiving comedy in which both the meal and the movie have a hard time coming together.
Saddled with a handful of sitcomy plot contrivances that leave it struggling with its own mediocrity, the film's quirkiness never quite evolves into cleverness as it follows a pretty young punkette (Katie Holmes) through a day of near-disasters, and her uneasy suburban family on their long, reluctant car trip to her graffiti-encrusted Lower East Side walk-up for what they're sure will be a calamity of a holiday meal with their absconded black sheep.
While the nervous, habitually irresponsible April (Holmes) is banging on doors and meeting eccentric, snooty and non-English-speaking neighbors in a desperate search for a working oven (her own had served only as a cabinet until this morning, when she discovered it was dead), the girl's mom (Patricia Clarkson), dad (Oliver Platt), grandma (Alice Drummond) and teenage siblings are squeezed into a station wagon and getting on each other's last nerves.
Continue reading: Pieces Of April Review
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