Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.
A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Halley lives with her six year old daughter Moonee in a budget motel along one of the commercial strips catering to the Walt Disney World tourist clientele outside Orlando, Florida. Halley, who survives largely on welfare, has little respect for people, especially those who cross her, it an attitude that she has passed down to Moonee, who curses and gives the finger like her mother. Although the motel's policy is not to allow long term rentals, Bobby, the motel manager, has made arrangements for people like Halley to live there while not undermining the policy as he realizes that many such tenants have no place to go otherwise. Halley, Moonee and Moonee's friends, who live in the motel or others like it along the strip and who she often drags into her disruptive pranks, are often the bane of Bobby's existence, but while dealing with whatever problem arises, Bobby has a soft spot especially for the children and thus, by association, their parents, as he knows that Moonee and others ...Written by
Restaurant used is Mr. Quick. Interior decorations like pictures and clock were props brought by filming crew. The waitresses in blue uniforms were extras and did not work for Mr Quick. Mr Quick never had blue uniforms, name tags, or visor hat. See more »
"This film is not authorized, sponsored, endorsed, produced, or distributed by, or in any way officially associated with the Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates." See more »
Performed by Ryan Oakes
Written by Ryan Oakes See more »
Slow but engaging
Many years ago I remember being in a shop where a rough-as-stones mother was there with a 5 or 6 year old girl who was so well spoken and friendly that I barely believed they were together. A bit snobbish of me, but at the time I felt for the child as I assumed her path was more or less chosen for her. Life is not as simple as that, and it wasn't fair of me to judge, but it is a memory recovered while watching this film. The Florida Project takes us into a motel mostly housed by those down on their luck (to say the least). We go there via the perspective of the child Moonee, who mostly runs around with other children while her mother Halley smokes and lies around. Money comes from stripping when she can, but mostly from selling knock-offs to tourists. For Moonee though, it is a world of wonder and color.
It is important to say that it does this in a way that is very slow, and does spend a bit too long lingering in some scenes or ideas. This makes the film a bit harder for those (like myself) expecting something with more purpose, but if you know this then it is easy to go with it and be engaged by what it does. The film enjoys the nostalgic playing and fun of the children, and doesn't push the sadness of the situation. Likewise the extent of the poverty and desperation are not directly shown or labored other than the way a child would observe them. The personal drama plays out though, and in the end it is a depressing film for how it does come over as very real - and ultimately how Moonee probably doesn't have that bright future that she deserves; not to say people cannot escape poverty - but there is almost nothing here to help them do it.
The performances are strong through, which is important for a film which spends so long letting the characters just be on camera. Prince is as good as everyone says she is; utterly convincing and challenging. Dafoe is the only real 'name' in the film, but he doesn't let that be what he is there for, and he is an engaging presence. Vinaite is very good as Halley - had the performance come from an established actress then this would have been Oscar material; I wonder if her tattoos etc made people assume that she was essentially just doing what came naturally? Regardless she is nuanced, unsympathetic, but yet human - the film doesn't pander or patronize her.
The Florida Project is not an easy sell as a film, and it is perhaps a bit too slow for its own good, but it has a heart and honesty that make it work. The performances are natural and convincing throughout, and the film allows the child's wonder and fun come through, while never denying the depressing and oppressive reality of it all.
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