“Short Term 12”: The Joy, Challenge, and Horror of Foster Care, and Latinos are Part of It All

Stephanie Biatriz, Kevin Hernandez, and Diana Maria Riva join Brie Larson and John Gallagher, Jr. in a heart-rending, heart-warming award-winning indie film opening Friday, August 23

The issue of foster care is emotional, complicated, and often just plain crazy, and Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12 does a tremendous job in exploring that world as it tells the uplifting and often tragic story of a young woman who begins work–and builds a life–at a short-term foster care facility in California

Anyone in this line of work will tell you that the Latino community is a large part of the foster care community, not just in California but across the country, so it makes perfect sense that Latino actors are part of the ensemble that makes this film so effective. Among the caregivers and those who need care you’ll find Stephanie Biatriz (last seen in Modern Family, about to break out in Andy Samberg’s new Fox comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Kevin Hernandez (visible next year in Haley Joel Osment’s return to the big screen, Sex Education), and Diana Maria Riva, the amazing character actress from The Good Guys, ¡ROB!, and soon the new family sitcom starring George Lopez.

Stephanie Beatriz

Diana Maria Riva

Kevin Hernandez

Short Term 12’s early reviews have been almost unanimously positive. Entertainment Weekly says, “The situation has a built-in heartbreak, but Cretton doesn’t milk it. Instead, he lets each character strike a note of lived-in reality that is rarely found on screen.” The Village Voices says, “Easily one of the best films so far this year, it’s a nearly perfect blend of pimple-faced naturalism, righteous moral fury, nuanced social insight, and unsentimental but devastating drama.” And comingsoon.net called it, “Just a beautiful film and a real crowd pleaser.”

The film opens Friday August 23 in a limited release. You may have to look for it, but every indication is it will be worth the effort, and then some.