The Florida Project

The Florida Project

(2017)

Sean Baker (Tangerine) juxtaposes a group of kids' summer of childhood wonder with their parents' financial suffering in this Cannes-selected drama.

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Flicks Review

US auteur Sean Baker’s slice-of-life indie has been generating a surprising amount of awards heat. The surprise is no reflection on its quality – which is beyond reproach – but because it features a largely unknown cast, no moralising or easy redemptions, and tells us more about life than it does about movies.... More

Clattering with colour and noise, it follows six-year-old tearaway Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) through a chaotic summer spent scraping by in a social housing motel on the outskirts of Disney World Florida. But this is no pity party, and these characters are far from martyrs. We first meet little Moonee and friends as they spit on a nice lady’s car, and scream obscenities at her. While Halley will do anything to make her rent, from begging and stealing to selling knock-off perfume, so long as she can sit around all day and smoke.

Though confusing and hard to engage with at first, mainly because there’s no exposition or obvious plot beats, the film gradually comes into focus as a child’s eye view of poverty. Halley may be a terrible mother, but she loves her daughter to the ends of the earth, and besides – what would you do differently?

Prince and Vinaite make charismatic leads, with seasoned support from Willem Dafoe, as the motel’s put-upon caretaker, and indie stalwarts Caleb Landry-Jones and Macon Blair. But what really stays with you is the extraordinary, often handheld, camerawork and Baker’s powerful sense of place. Shot against those huge, Sunshine State skies, the candy-hued motels feel less like temporary homes than tombs where the American dream goes to die.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 4 ratings, 2 reviews
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BY Newt superstar

The ingredients that make The Florida Project so good are; the children, the razor sharp dialogue and the setting. As they say, a film is as good as its story, and the incredibly harsh realities faced by the characters provide the basis for a compelling story - one abundant with paradoxes of life's fickle nature


BY PeterS superstar

Told mainly through the eyes of a young child, this story gives a different view of America. One that it so far away from the American dream. Beautifully, shot -- the brilliant colours contrast the bleakness of the situtation, and the joy the mother has for her daughter. So many contradictions.

The children, and in particular the 'lead child' give remarkable performances; so very natural and powerful. She certainly has a pair of lungs on her. It's hard to believe it is the first time for all... More of the cast (except of course, for Willem Dafoe).

This is one of the best films of the year for me.Hide


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The Press Reviews

  • In an era with remarkable child actors in films such as 'Room' and 'Moonlight', Baker's ability to siphon such authentic performances is truly a marvel. Full Review

  • A fabulous mosaic of one particular pocket of America's invisible homeless population - families living hand-to-mouth in motels originally designed to catch the tourist overspill from the flashy theme-park resorts across town. Full Review

  • Beautiful, vibrant, heartfelt and hilarious. Full Review

  • A remarkable study of poverty, family and personal responsibility, The Florida Project meticulously illustrates how life on the margins affects one impressionable six-year-old. Full Review

  • Things look grim for Halley and Moonee, but we can expect a lot from the people who brought their marvelous story to light. Full Review

  • As a filmmaker, Baker is a graceful neorealist voyeur who thrives on improvisation, and his storytelling, in The Florida Project, is mostly just a series of anecdotes. But that turns out to be enough. Full Review

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