Sean Baker's The Florida Project is an absolutely perfect if not maybe too painfully astute look at what is currently wrong with America today and what seems to have been a problem for far too long and yet little to nothing seems to have been done about it. And no, I am not talking about President Trump, or how he is residing over the country, or giving an overall favourable, or negative opinion on his presidency because that is neither here nor there and does not effect the purpose, or intent of this review one iota. I will just say that after this weekend's faux pas over things said in a meeting that were overheard and made public and these were not exactly words, or language that depict, or show the president in the best kind of light, but all I will add here is that if he wants to remain president and seek a second term, he will really have to be careful about the words that come out of his mouth, whether they be in public, or behind closed doors and that also includes being cautious and considerate about how you use and what you write on certain forms of social media, in this case the one with the cute little bird. There enough said and done. As for The Florida Project, it addresses the long standing issue of poverty in America, and shows an unflinchingly realistic portrayal of the lives of several people, particularly in focus being a young mother named Halley and herv daughter Mooney. People watching this film can come away with many different opinions, or theories based upon what they have just watched. I am personally of the opinion that Baker here is neither glorifying these people and how they live, or personally finding fault, or blaming them either. Maybe there stems a much deeper problem and issue here than what lies on the surface. There are examples of how the motel they live and can hardly pay rent for is one thing, but also how they have no real sense of how to spend, earn, or even save money. If money is so tight do you really need to go out and buy all those cigarettes you are seen smoking, because I do not know about America, but here in Canada they are heavily taxed and if you are anything even close to a chain smoker you probably blow a large part of your monthly income on the deadly and yet very stupid things. You can also look at Halley and her friends and instantly notice that they are covered from head to toe in elaborate tattoos that encompass their entire body. There is more of their body that is covered in ink than that is not. Again tattoos depending on the size and the elaborateness to them are not inexpensive either and again you are not really investing your money here in the best way. Halley also seems to be a person who unfortunately is her own worst enemy by having an extremely rebellious attitude towards any kind of authority, or just basically people in general. While Halley tries to scrape together some kind of income to afford the small room her daughter and her call home, Mooney is meanwhile out with her friends getting into all kinds of mischief just for the sake of doing it, including such things as vandalism, arson and even begging other people for money. Halley you can tell as much as is possible for her, truly loves Mooney and yet she is setting an absolutely terrible example for her by the way she lives her life on a day to day basis and when Mooney is reprimanded by the kindly yet firm manager of the motel named Bobby, Halley just shrugs it off and then seems to forget about it until more problems ensue and what begins as just harmless pranks become more and more harmful and Halley herself also seems to be spiralling out of control with both her temper, her wild lifestyle and just having no sense of self control, or knowing when to call quits on this destructive lifestyle that is not only damaging her, but also her daughter's image of a mother and role model is in very sore and sordid shape. One can argue that perhaps if Halley had continued on with her education, or perhaps done some volunteer work, or gotten involved in some extra curricular activities she would be a lot further ahead than she is right now, but the film asks the question of who is really to blame here. Is it always a government's responsibility to play nanny to it's citizens, or should the powers that be offer more in ways of incentives and encouragement and maybe even social programs to help out, so that these kind of problems don't risk the tipping point. Maybe also the individual needs to be a bit responsible for themselves and try to put their best foot forward in life and not be afraid to try new things to better one's self. There are no easy answers to these questions and yet poverty and the type of behaviour I have mentioned is still on the rise and it is definitely something that needs to be addressed one way, or another. The Florida Project is not always the most easiest film to sit through because of the very disturbing self destructive behaviour that is on screen in front of us. And yet, I was glad the film gave us a no holes barred look at the problem and allows us to think, pray and grasp about the problem at hand. This is a powerful film that should definitely be a wake up call to any and all people in government as well as to educators and parents as well. The performances here are the best of any film this year from mostly a crowd of new faces, but they all do such a fantastic job here and Willem Dafoe as Bobby, is one of my favourite, if not absolute favourite performance I have seen him in. A tender man with a good heart who also knows how to be firm and authoritative when he needs to be and yet he knows the trouble of those around him. This is a powerful film that will hit you hard whether you want that, or not, but there is no denying it's impact and the questions that arise from it. One of 2017's best films.
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