Film Review: The Florida Project

Image: Marc Schmidt
Image: Marc Schmidt
A heartbreaking story of childhood innocence, starring Willem Dafoe.

A comedic drama directed by Sean Baker, The Florida Project follows the antics of a six-year-old girl living in an Orlando motel with her free-spirited mother.

Halley (Bria Vinaite) is a young rebellious mother, unemployable, careless and wary of help. Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) is cheeky, inquisitive and bored with her motel life. Bobby Hicks (Willem Dafoe) is the manager of the Magic Castle Motel, and takes it upon himself to watch over Halley and Moonee.

Drawing its name from the original project name of Walt Disney World Resort, The Florida Project is a moving film about childhood innocence, family and the struggle to make ends meet.

The film isn’t afraid to delve into the darker side of poverty, tackling issues of foster parenting, drugs and prostitution. Viewing these issues through both the eyes of a child and the eyes of moralistic outsider, Bobby, viewers are presented with a complex and emotionally-charged film that won’t be easily forgotten.

Speaking about The Florida Project, Dafoe told Deadline he was pleased with its reception so far. “When we were shooting it, it felt special. But with low-budget films, you never know whether it’s going to be seen. So when there was a good response in Cannes, critical and popular – [the film received a standing ovation] – it showed that the story would resonate with people,” he said.

Check out the trailer for The Florida Project below.

 

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