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.
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
Paradise Inn which was Futureland Inn, no longer has the iconic rockets in front. See more »
At one point when Moonee takes a bath, she is wearing a necklace with pink flowers on it. A few scenes later, you see Halley buy her that necklace after selling the magic bracelets. See more »
[Moonee and Scooty, sitting on a sofa, eating ice-cream cones]
[Ice cream drips on floor]
Ok, I warned you: one drip and you're out.
Oh, come on!
It's gonna melt outside.
It's melting' inside too.
[Moonee and Scooty walk out]
Thank you very much!
You're not welcome!
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"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 »
Up and Away
Performed by Friends of the Friendless
Written by Nick J. Anderson, Dedorionne W. Morgan and Alex Pombar
Courtesy of Extreme Music See more »
The vicious cycle
This film immerses us into the world of lower-class people in Florida who ironically are staying in a cheap hotel next to of Disneyworld, where a set of four magic band bracelet tickets goes for $1600. There are excellent performances all around, especially from Brooklynn Prince, who plays a tough, mouthy, and yet sweet little girl with an arresting honesty. The character is just six but in many ways seems older, growing up too quickly while left mostly on her own to roam around with her friends.
It doesn't take long to feel sorry for the children in this situation, with no structure or guidance, and horrible role models. In ten years we can easily imagine the little girl grown up to be a similar mother, and ten years ago we can imagine how the mother must have grown up. Without even a hint of this message from director Sean Baker, who shows masterful restraint, we see how hard it is for someone to rise out of the lower class or a difficult upbringing - not impossible, but not easy. The film may be an ink blot test though, because I can also imagine the response of them getting what they deserve, since the mom doesn't get a job as others around her do, runs scams, and resorts to prostituting herself, and I have to say, feeling empathy for her is a real test. Just watching how poorly she behaves is one of the turn-offs to the film, even if it's honest.
The little girl is easy to feel sorry for because she's still just six; this is what happens with awful parents. But the mother was also likely brought up in a difficult environment, so the film begs the question of what to do about vicious cycles like this while wisely not attempting to answer it. Instead it just gives us reality, as cringe-inducing as it may be at times.
I loved how it was edited, with cuts tending to shorten scenes. I think that was a wise move, since a lot of the film is simply showing us a series of vignettes without the machinations of a big plot, and this kept it from lagging. I also loved the character Willem Dafoe played - what a tough job he has, and yet he's a model of empathy and kindness, an absolute angel under the façade of a grizzled hotel manager, never judging anyone. He plays the part perfectly too, without embellishing it with sweetness or anything that doesn't feel completely authentic. How it resolves is great too, because you can see both the tragedy and the need for it, after everything we've seen.
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