The Florida Project (2017) – Review

The Florida Project opened in select theaters October 6th.

The Florida Project is a film of oxymorons. It is funny, yet serious. It is heartwarming, but heartbreaking. It is simplistic, yet complex. The scope of the story is small, while the themes are ever-present. The Florida Project fills you with so many conflicting emotions and is a profound movie-going experience.

Set mostly at a budget hotel in Orlando, we follow six-year-old Moonee and her mother Hayley. By contrasting the nearby ‘utopia’ of Disney World, director Sean Baker paints a thorough portrait of unprivileged life.

Despite most of the movie’s trailers highlighting actor William Dafoe, his role never takes center stage. This is a movie about the children. It is not however, a coming of age movie. Moonee and her pals find different ways to make the best of their situation, showing that anywhere can be a Magic Kingdom.

Without revealing too much, I will say the ending jarred me. Perhaps I didn’t fully understand the last scene, but I felt as if the movie forgot about the things that made it great and chose to go with a cute stunt to close the story. Still, that didn’t affect my enjoyment of what came before.

I give The Florida Project an A-.