Movie Title: The Florida Project
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. and 51 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
The Florida Project quickly introduces us to 6 year old Moonee and her friend Scooty as they run off to the rocket adorned motel the Futureland Inn. They run up to the second floor and begin spitting as many times as they can onto a car below them. An old woman named Stacy who owns the car notices the children and gets very angry about what they are doing. She follows them back to their room in the neighboring motel made entirely of purple stucco and demands that they come back and clean her car. In this way we are introduced to the characters and living conditions that would aptly be described as squalid.
Moonee’s mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) is rough to say the least, but it is clear she loves her daughter. She struggles to take care of herself. She does not have a job and she does not have a personality that would be employable anywhere. She is a former stripper who couldn’t make it in the business. She struggles to take care of her daughter and keep a roof over their heads. The rent is always late. During the day Halley pays little attention to the kids, so they run around and behave badly everywhere they go. If they don’t get what they want, they have a fit and usually end up getting it. The language that comes out of their mouths would be impressive for adults. The kids run around like Floridian street urchins begging for money for ice cream, trying to get tips for taking people’s bags, and taking food from different places.
The motel is run by a man named Bobby (Willem Dafoe) who clearly has a soft spot for the kids all the while playing frustrating cat and mouse games with them. He cuts Halley quite a few breaks, so that Moonee won’t be hurt. Both Vinaite and Dafoe are great in their roles. Ultimately, Halley is not able to hustle up enough money without a job and starts turning tricks. Life drags on in this way. Seeing it all from the perspective of a six year old makes it heartbreaking because you can see the cycle of poverty continuing. Brooklynn Prince turns in an excellent child performance. All of this ends predictably.
The movie makes a point to contrast natural beauty with the unnatural poverty that surrounds it. They climb on ancient trees and watch cows graze in a field and then trek back to their apartment where gang fights occur. The movie also makes a point to contrast the poverty of the projects with Disney World in sight. Helicopters take off and the fireworks can be clearly seen every night. The cost of admittance into Disney World is mentioned organically several times in the movie and it is there on purpose.
The Florida Project could very well have been a best picture nominee rather than The Post. The Florida Project exemplifies the modern poverty that is widespread in America at the foot of luxury. It is an uncomfortable movie to watch because for the majority of the running time I found myself judging the people in the movie harshly, but realistically the life they are living is alien to me. Ultimately, it is also entertaining, even if you end up disliking almost all the characters in the movie. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Hostiles (2017)