Combustible Celluloid
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
Own it:
Search for Posters
Search for streaming:
NetflixHuluGoogle PlayGooglePlayCan I
With: Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Willem Dafoe, Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry ones, Macon Blair, Karren Karagulian, Sandy Kane
Written by: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Directed by: Sean Baker
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, disturbing behavior, sexual references and some drug material
Running Time: 111
Date: 10/06/2017

The Florida Project (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Moonee's Kingdom

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Following up his compassionate, open-aired Los Angeles films Starlet (2012) and Tangerine (2015), the extremely promising filmmaker Sean Baker heads across the country for the funny, heartbreaking The Florida Project, another film so warmly vivid pink and grimily sun-lit that you can practically feel it.

It focuses on a seedy motel near Disneyworld, where six year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives with her tattooed single mother Halley (Bria Vinaite); both actresses are extraordinary. It's summer, and Moonee likes to cause trouble with two friends, while her mother tries to make ends meet by selling perfume on the street, and eventually turning to prostitution.

Meanwhile, the kids accidentally start a fire in an abandoned building, starting a chain of dire events. The winning touch here is Willem Dafoe as a gruff but kind hotel manager, who occasionally bends the rules to help out his tenants; it's one of Dafoe's greatest performances, finding entrancing spaces between humanity and darkness.

The Florida Project is a little darker and edgier than Baker's earlier works, moving boldly into an ending that is both dreamy and hopeless. Yet, as with Baker's other films, this one feels handmade and light as a feather, and without resorting to junky hand-held or documentary techniques. It's attentive and observant about all the things of life.

Lionsgate released this on Blu-ray, and Baker's unique use of colors really pops on the home screen. The disc includes an optional digital copy, a very good 22-minute behind-the-scenes featurette (it feels homemade, rather than the usual studio-produced items), interviews with the cast and crew, and a little blooper reel. There are also trailers for a handful of other A24 films.

Movies Unlimtied