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 Disney World.
In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father's research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.
Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
A Korean-born man finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana, where his architect father is in a coma. The man meets a young woman who wants to stay in Columbus with her mother, a recovering addict, instead of pursuing her own dreams.
Haley Lu Richardson,
Halley lives with her six year old daughter Moonee in a budget motel along one of the commercial strips catering to the 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 like her... Written by
I had the privilege to catch an early viewing of this film along with a Q&A with writer/director/editor Sean Baker. Many know him from his breakout hit Tangerine (2015); I was sucked into his world since the release of Starlet (2012). Something that he never ceases to portray is the messed up realism that is hidden within our world and the Florida Project capture this in the most purest and colorful of ways.
The story follows a ruthlessly mischievous 6-year old named Moonee who, along with a couple friends, explore, disrupt, criticize and takeover a simple hotel complex just on the outskirts of Disney World. She lives with her young, tattooed mother, who seems to have issues of her own, but seems content and manages to pay rent (almost) every week.
Taking place over the summer, these kids are free to do as they please, that is, since there parents are not too strict. And being around tourists who can't afford the Disney Resort, they can make a lot of fun out of it. From panhandling money for ice cream to turning off the electricity in the hotel, these badmouthed hoodlums do it all. One thing this film captures well is the freedom children have and how far they go to test the waters of life.
It was very easy to get lost in this film, making it completely enjoyable. I was worried about the kids being a bit over exaggerating, but they really weren't and every thing they did seemed natural and true to their character. I especially want to point out Halley, Moonee's mother, and her performance. I have never seen a character like her played so superbly and so factual. You will see as the story unfolds that she is a very complex person who, like a child, struggles to maintain complacency with the people around her.
Another element I would like to touch up on is the camera work. By far one of the best storytelling methods for a film such as this that is mostly from a child's point of view. The colours being so vibrant and wide angles that show how big the world really is. The gorilla-style as well really depicts how on-the-go they are and trivial most disruptions are.
One last thing I want to touch up on is that there is a number of great shots with a helicopter zooming away. I am unsure if it was intentional or if there was a popular helipad near by, but this was a great part of the film that was subtly used. To me it represented freedom, and escape from the world, referring to how fast it can get away.
It is not everyday you come across a film like The Florida Project and I definitely intend on seeing it again, as it is simply rewatchable. Getting a taste of authentic realism in art nowadays is one of the most beautiful gifts we can receive. Enjoy!
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