The Florida Project (2017)

R   |    |  Drama

The Florida Project (2017) Poster

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 Walt Disney World.

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  • Brooklynn Prince and Valeria Cotto in The Florida Project (2017)
  • Willem Dafoe in The Florida Project (2017)
  • Brooklynn Prince at an event for The Florida Project (2017)
  • Brooklynn Prince and Christopher Rivera in The Florida Project (2017)
  • Willem Dafoe at an event for The Florida Project (2017)
  • Sean Baker at an event for The Florida Project (2017)

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1 October 2017 | bastille-852-731547
| Well-Acted but Somewhat Empty Indie Drama
I had been looking forward to seeing this new film directed by Sean Baker ever since reading the rave reviews for it that came out of Cannes and Toronto. While I can say that this film is beautifully filmed and features strong acting, it doesn't quite hit the mark. The film is about a poor young girl, raised by a single mother, and her friends who live in a run-down motel close to Disney World near Orlando, Florida.

Baker uses a simple and low-key filmmaking style to deliver excellent cinematography. The film has a strong and commanding color palette to its simple aesthetic. The performances on display in this movie are very satisfying for the most part. The child actors do a very good and convincing job, especially given their ages. Williem Dafoe is very good as the manager of the motel, although it would have been better if he had been given more of an emotional range to work with in his role throughout the movie. Unfortunately, the film does have some notable flaws. The tone of the movie is all over the place, with joyous childhood wonder juxtaposed sometimes abruptly with more edgy and mature themes. Such abrupt changes in tone and motif hold back the movie's message to some degree. Some audiences will dislike that the movie is considerably darker than its trailers make it seem, although I was fine with that. The same concern over abrupt changes in tone is also evident in the movie's writing, mixing puerile scatological 'jokes' from the kids with more sophisticated and powerful material. Finally, the film's final scene feels like a cop-out. Without giving anything away, the way it is done also makes one (unfortunately) wonder if it was filmed on impulse, or if the filmmakers ran out of budget.

I really wanted to love "The Florida Project," and it's certainly not a bad film, but I just wish it could have been better. 6.5/10

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