SIFF Capsule Reviews: Short Term 12/The Way, Way Back

Between other work, warm weather and a week fending off bears in Yosemite National Park, I haven’t had a chance to take full advantage of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) this year. In fact, I still haven’t picked up my press pass. Nonetheless, I’ve managed to catch a couple films this year so far…

Short Term 12

Brie Larson plays Grace, a caring staff member at a foster care facility whose own troubled memories resurfaces with the arrival of a new teenager. Larson turns in a fine performance, but her central story arc is less interesting than those belonging to some of the kids in her care, most notably Marcus, played by Keith Stanfield.

Short Term 12 is a well made movie that holds your attention, though ultimately it doesn’t leave much lasting impact. Still, it’s worth seeing.

The Way, Way Back

From the writers of the Oscar-winning The Descendants comes the more straightforward comedy The Way, Way Back, about an awkward teenager who finds his calling, and possible romance, at a water park. Liam James plays the likable lead character, though an A-list supporting cast that includes Steve Carell, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet, Toni Collette, Maya Rudolph and Allison Janney nearly steals the show.

The Way, Way Back is funny through and through, but like The Descendants it also hits some serious notes. More importantly, it feels real, which makes the humor sharper and the drama more relatable. The Way, Way Back is the best movie I’ve seen so far this year.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Comedies, Drama Movies
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