“The Florida Project”
Director: Sean Baker
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Kimberly Prince, Bria Vinaite, Caleb Landry Jones, Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, Macon Blair, Mela Murder.
4.5 (Out Of 5) Globes
Plot: Set in the blistering summer heat and humidity of Kissimmee, Florida, “The Florida Project” revolves around Moonee (Brooklyn Kimberly Prince), a precocious 6-year-old that is off school for a couple of weeks. Moonee lives with her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) in The Magic Castle Motel amongst a community of extended-stay motel guests. The manager of their supposedly temporary abode is the kind-hearted Bobby (Willem Dafoe), who tries his best to protect the group of children that are around for the summer from the harsh realities of their lives, and the fact that their young mothers are on the brink of poverty and homelessness.
Review: It is impossible not to fall a little bit in love with “The Florida Project”. While that’s mostly down to the youthful vibrancy and energy that’s generated by Brooklyn Kimberly Prince as Moonee, it helps that director Sean Baker and cinematographer Alexis Zabe’s camera is warm and non-judgmental to its downtrodden but still charismatic and loveable characters. Rather than being heavy on plot, which instead simmers under the surface before eventually coming to a head, “The Florida Project” intimately explores the modern underbelly of the working class, allowing you to wallow in their world. At various points you expect the film to explode into action. But instead it is a poetic, funny, beautifully composed look at a story and characters that cinema doesn’t usually explore, which is anchored and enhanced by its astounding performances. Especially Dafoe, who is caring, abrupt, and destined to be in the Best Actor Oscar hunt. If all is right with the cinematic world the rest of “The Florida Project’s” cast and crew shouldn’t be far behind, too.