Oct 4, 2013

Movie Review: Short Term 12 and Robert Frost's "Bereft"

For the old e.e. cummings post, how’s this link? (Please feel no pressure to read it).   http://banjo52.blogspot.com/search?q=when+serpents+bargain

Yesterday I saw an awfully good movie about foster teens, which is related to the government shutdown. That is, how does our society treat its neediest humans?  

Short Term 12 was in one of the art theaters here and left today after stay of about three weeks. But maybe you can get access to it where you are, or online, or through Netflix, etc. It stars Brie Larson and John Gallagher, Jr. (he’s Jim on The Network), who play counselor-caretakers in a group home. They are very convincing. There’s enough humor and romance to balance—but surely not to cancel out—the gritty social and personal issues for the caretakers and foster kids alike. This is a first-rate, low-budget indie movie that makes us know and care about the characters. 


I've been looking for an appropriate time to post Robert Frost's very big little poem, "Bereft," and now, as I think about that movie's teens and their dark nights (and days) of the soul, maybe "Bereft" is just right. Troubled, abandoned fifteen-year-olds, lonely old men living alone, and all those in-between probably have similar feelings and thoughts at times. I wonder if they--no, we--can be of any comfort to each other.


Jean Spitzer said...

Wonderful photos.

Saw the trailer for the movie. Want to see it, more so after your recommendation.

Anonymous said...

I like the simple rhythm of the Frost poem, but some of the rhymes strike me as strained. For example, he had the last line, but then thought what rhymes with God? Sod/Rod/Nod/Abroad...

Was this an early poem?

Banjo52 said...

Jean, thank you! The people shots are from the archives, but I still like them. About the movie, the good news is that it doesn't especially need the big screen. I sometimes find my attention drifting if I watch at home, need to be strapped into my theater seat (I tip the usher for this). But a normal person could have a fine (but somewhat sobering) time watching this at home.

Karin, what an ear! (written 1893, published 1927). In his biography of Frost, Jay Parini considers the poem (benignly) "narcissistic" and "paranoid." I like it better than that and find its its straightforward language a good counterpoint and tension for the loud music. The music wants to make things pretty and simplistic, but the content says, No, this is pretty bitter stuff.

But to learn--thanks to your question!!!--that he was only 19 when he wrote it . . . was disappointing. And I realize I'm violating the New Criticism when I say that. Gasp.

Ken Mac said...

Beautiful sentiment.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Yes, an intense small poem of Frost's...I like that about his work (always some interesting energy/tension between idea and form).

Banjo52 said...

Thanks, Ken and Hannah.

Hannah, is anyone better at that than Frost and maybe Emily Dickinson?

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