‘Short Term 12″-Long-Term Pain
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on September 9, 2013
The healer needs to be healed. That is what I took away from this sweet, touching, and yet painfully unrealistic film in which abused teenagers are housed until a more permanent, sometimes less desirable placement is found. We, the audience, feel the pain of both the staff and the “inmates,” so to speak, feel as they try to heal each other. There is a deep sense of humanity in this film, as the victimization of childhood is shown in full color. As the audience, I imagine the collective group, wants to scream out and remind these unseen parents that no child asks to be born. The responsibility on these parents is clear, and yet, the helplessness to make people take good care of their children is also clear. As the movie unfolds, as with life, the victim becomes the victimizer, as the pain is shared in so many directions. The line between self-harm and aggression towards other is blurred. In a way, it does not matter. There is just a lot of pain. There is the agony of abandonment, physical and sexual abuse, and most of all, the absence of a nurturing figure. How can these abused teenagers break out of their past and not live in a world guided by emotional vulnerability? What kind of people are drawn to work in these residential care settings? Is the answer to the former, the latter? The movie makes us think that. I felt sad, really sad, experiencing this movie as the hours and days have gone by. Emotional pain begets more emotional pain. It is so hard to break out of that universe.