TVMuse Television News

THE FLORIDA PROJECT, the warmest thing you'll see all year


It's not everyday that you get to enter the life of the underdog, the people that make up the margins of society, those who live in shady motels off of haighways, raise their kids on chance and hustling, but somehow get to live their life according to their unique personality. Moreover, you don't often get to see this story set outside of Orlando, Florida. The Florida Project didn't make waves at the Oscars, but it's one of the best films you'll see all year. It's complex, light and fun, dark, immersive. Trailer below.

Directed by Tangerine's Sean Baker, The Florida Project tells the story of a young mom, Halley (Bria Vinaite), and her young daughter, Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince). Their both mischievous and resilient, but underneath the rudeness there's a soft core hoping to just have fun for as long as possible.


"Located in Kissimmee, which lies east of Eden on Route 192, these gaudily hued establishments have names like the Magic Castle and Futureland, evoking a dream of fun, fantasy and adventure that is jarringly at odds with harsh economic realities. Purple and yellow paint jobs can’t disguise the fact that many of the residents are in the red, struggling to pay rent, intermittently ousted from their rooms to avoid possible claims of residency. Yet the fairytale is still very much alive for the kids at the centre of this thrillingly vibrant film, which Baker tellingly calls “a modern-day Our Gang” – a reference to Hal Roach’s classic Depression-era kids’ comedies. As Kool and the Gang’s anthemic song Celebration reminds us at the outset, there are good times amid these hard times. [...] Tangerine, Baker’s micro-budget break-out hit about a transgender sex worker, was shot exclusively on iPhone. Here, he goes a more choreographed visual style here, conjuring a child’s-eye sense of wonder as we glide from DayGlo buildings to verdant fields that unexpectedly interrupt the alien concrete landscape. Shooting on both digital and 35mm, cinematographer Alexis Zabe (whose CV ranges from Carlos Reygadas’s Silent Light to pop videos for Die Antwoords) captures these weird widescreen vistas beneath blue skies and candy-land sunsets, finding heartstopping beauty in the image of a tree, which Moonee significantly loves because “it’s tipped over and it’s still growing”." (The Guardian)


"The derelict spectre of Recession America is firmly on Baker’s mind in this, and he pushes that theme to the foreground just a tad when the kids start mucking around in the disused condo. But he never strays from an ultra-realistic point of view, and gets so many crazy laughs from their vocabulary you’ll forgive him almost anything. [...] Baker finds poignancy but also irony in these economics, and hardly ever risks poverty porn, hitting you with swift and brutal developments that, miraculously, skirt Loachian melodrama to ring loud and true. It’s exactly what you’d want him to do after Tangerine: shift tack, find another corner of America, and paint the hell out of it, with no premium on exuberance, and no holds barred." (Telegraph)

"he steadiest adult presence in Moonee’s world is Bobby (Willem Dafoe, never better), who runs (but does not own) the Magic Castle. You get the feeling that Bobby didn’t exactly sign up to be the de facto mayor of a makeshift village, but he also clearly finds some satisfaction in managing the disorder that surrounds him. He’s gentle with the children even when they drive him crazy and disrupt his work, and watches over them when nobody is looking. (In one of the film’s most gripping and sharply constructed scenes, Bobby confronts a creepy, predatory interloper who has been hanging around the motel’s playground.) His observant, unassuming decency makes him, to some degree, the filmmaker’s surrogate. [...] "The Florida Project” is honest about the limits of benevolence, and about the wishful thinking that can cloud our understanding of the world. Its final scenes are devastating, and also marvelously ambiguous, full of wonder, fury and cleareyed self-criticism. No magic exists that can make the pain of reality disappear, but we don’t know how to believe in anything else. This movie accomplishes something almost miraculous — two things, actually. It casts a spell and tells the truth." (New York Times)

Check out the trailer below.

Tags:   news, drama, film news, The Florida Project

Related:   Tangerine, The Florida Project



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