Astrology: Film: ‘Short Term 12’ (2013)



When biological parents fail to nurture their teenaged offspring, unexpected hope can come in the form of young, caring adults not much older than the troubled and love-deprived victims. This reality is at the heart of Short Term 12, written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, which took the Grand Jury Award at this year’s SXSW.

Grace (Brie Larson) is the head young-adult counselor at Short Term 12, the name of an ungated foster-care facility for at-risk and suicidal teens. Her long term, live-in boyfriend Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) is her co-worker who has been raised by loving foster parents. Nate (Rami Malek), a newbie, has just come on board to learn the ropes.

Early on, it’s revealed that Grace is pregnant with Mason’s child. And when Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), a teen who has a troubled relationship with her father, takes up residence at the facility, Grace is forced to examine her own past. The question becomes: what are the chances of becoming a loving and effective parent, when you’ve been the victim of bad parenting yourself?

The Moon is Short Term 12’s operational planet, which helps address Lunar archetypal issues involving family, nurture, and emotional sustenance and safety. Marcus (Keith Stanfield), a black, introverted teen about to turn 18 when he’ll be forced to leave the facility, is a reminder that the closest thing to a young person’s home base can nevertheless be taken away. Also at play is Chiron, the archetype which represents the wounded healer, something Grace and Mason know all too well how to do.

Book-ending the narrative is the fate of young Sammy (Alex Calloway), whose frequent “escape” rituals – he bolts out of the nest on a regular basis – signal the counselors to engage in hot pursuit. Turns out freedom from those who love you is the flip side of being safely caught and embraced.

Astrology Film Review: ☽ (Moon)

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