Dysfunctional America. File this alongside American Honey, a refreshing new breed of American Cinema that shows us the peeling lead paint and the authentic harsh reality which is not Kardashians and cronuts, it's survival in a society that doesn't give a shit about anyone who can't afford a ticket to Walt Disney World.
As a general rule, children can't act—and that's to the great advantage of The Florida Project, because I'd be surprised if even a quarter of what its young heroes do on screen was scripted or controlled. Baker finally nails the tone between comic energy and tragic grime that was so uneven in Tangerine, and Willem Dafoe's hotel manager is the most steadfast hero in a year that contained the damn Justice League.
[And in the end we'll all hold hands and escape to Disneyland when reality bites way too hard.] How in holy hell were Moonee & Jancey (not to mention Ashley & Halley) Not nominated for any awards..?! Is this a gender thing again? Brooklynn Prince & Valeria Cotto are some of the best child actors since Shirley Temple & Natalie Wood. Chasing paedos with sodas vs paying homage to fallen down yet still growing Trees= ♡ ▽
Digital. The creatures are less flaming than those of the previous film but not less fast, anxious and inconvenient; the space remains Californian, with the saturated and warm colors of LA by night, visiting Florida with (dis)enchantment; the filming keeps on being tense and itinerant, maintaining Baker in the small pedigree of contemporary North-American filmmakers who see's beyond the obvious and the indulgent.
White trash turned into cuteness overdose by the lens of Sean Baker, with hints of pedophilia and prostitution. Dafoe plays it cool, but if you were going to nominate anyone for an Oscar in here, it might as well have been Bria Vinaite... or - what the heck! - little diva Brooklynn Prince.
Baker follows up the excellent 'Tangerine' with this beautifully realized film that finds a mother and daughter barely squeezing by on the fringes of society living in the ironically named Magic Castle motel. The two characters Halley and Moonee are wonderfully captured by Bria Vinaite and young Brooklynn Prince who both enchant and frustrate the viewer with their choices. Dafoe deserves his year end accolades here.
Bristling with adrenalin and gritty honesty. The Florida Project is vibrantly art directed and packed full of great performances but also houses a gentle and tender heart that's doing all it can to stop breaking under the weight of everyday life on the poverty line. 4 stars. recommended
The Florida Project is set in the same universe as Andrea Arnold's American Honey. In a sense, it could be its prequel. But it's also reminiscent of Beasts of the Southern Wild: kids left to their own devices in a landscape of desolation and hopelessness. In a sense, it could be its sequel.