The Florida Project
Rated 14 Accompaniment (Crude Content, Coarse Language) ~ Runs 111 minutes
Dir.: Sean Baker, US
Brooklynn Prince, Willem Dafoe, Bria Vinaite, Valeria Cotto
AFI Winner, Movie of the Year; Oscar Nominee for Best Supporting Actor; Many other Festival and Critics’ Awards & Top Ten Lists.
“The magic kingdom is just down the road but a million miles away in The Florida Project, a dreamily impressionistic slice of vérité set in a Sunshine State of ragged palm trees, cracked asphalt, and shabby motels in glaring shades of melted sherbet. Six-year-old Moonee lives in one of those rundown pay-by-the-week complexes with her mother, Halley, a volatile, heavily tattooed 22-year-old hardly capable of looking after herself. Moonee makes her own fun anyway; she’s a tough, tiny firecracker, corralling other local kids into mischief that ranges from Our Gang innocence (wheedling ice cream money from strangers, holding spitting contests on car windshields) to actual felonies (setting fires in abandoned houses). And because Halley is usually too loaded or distracted to care, let alone supervise, most days the motel’s long-suffering manager (Willem Dafoe) ends up parenting by default. Baker has built a mini oeuvre around characters on the fringes... Florida introduces a new cute factor into his work: These kids, scrappy and funny and smart, are the kind who say the darndest things, and it’s a credit to either the writing or the casting (or both) that many of their best lines don’t even feel scripted. But it’s also not hard to see that there’s nothing sweet about Moonee’s prospects; as Halley’s emotional and financial situation slides into the red, so does their already tenuous existence. Dafoe’s sensitive performance anchors the movie’s slippery adult world, and Baker builds a cinematic mood beautifully; the strip malls and swampland and buzzing cicadas on screen feel as real and tactile as the theater seat beneath you.” - Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly