Verdict: An endearing look into the fringes of society.
After the success of Tangerine (shot entirely on an iPhone camera), director Sean Baker delivers yet another honest film about an underrepresented reality while bringing his own essence to indie cinema. The Florida Project shows us what it’s like to live on the outskirts of ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ – Disney World.
What's The Florida Project About:
Set along the course of one summer, The Florida Project follows the life of 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her rebellious but caring mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite). They live at The Magic Castle Motel just outside Disney World. Moonee is an antsy kid who is up to all sorts of mischief with her friends and Halley just about manages to pay rent each month. The motel owner, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), is entirely invested and emotionally attached to his motel and its tenants. Over the course of the film, we get an insider's look at their lives, which includes both the good and the bad.
With a uniquely honest and brilliantly articulate portrayal of its characters, The Florida Project almost feels like a documentary. We become a part of the characters' lives, following everything from the unusual to the mundane. We slip into Moonee’s fascinating world while also realizing the harsh reality in Halley’s world. Although they might not be the ideal candidates for lovable characters, Baker somehow manages to remain objective while making us empathize for them. This bittersweet adventure only gets better with the motel owner, Bobby. Bobby has a handful life, having to switch between his different roles as a businessman, a bill collector, a dispute manager, and even somewhat of a father figure. Apart from the extraordinary performances from Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe drives the film home with a spectacular performance as a supporting actor, scooping up tons of awards for the film.
Director Sean Baker creates a beautifully realistic world with a powerful visual language in the film. From the use of oversaturated colors to long sequences of seemingly trivial situations, he creates a world that’s brutally candid.
What Could Have Been Better:
Since the film doesn’t follow any specific plot, it can sometimes be hard to become fully invested. But it does expose you to a different style of storytelling as its sole purpose is to create a setting and put you in the shoes of its characters. Whether you love it or hate it, the much-debated ending will leave you wondering.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
This is a film about people that are living their lives in the best way they can within the confines of their situation. This award-winning Oscar nominee is definitely a must-watch if you want to experience a rarely seen, unadulterated reality on-screen.