Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-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.
Double crosses, adultery, murder, mistaken identity, and revenge ensue when a mysterious power player and his sultry wife hire a disgraced Los Angeles property broker to discreetly market and sell their Malibu villa.
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.
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
Willem Dafoe spent a week living in the filming area before production in order to immerse himself in the life of the characters & master the nuances of the regional dialect. See more »
[Moonee and Scooty, sitting on a sofa, eating ice-cream cones]
[Ice cream drips on floor]
Ok, I warned you: one drip and you're out.
Oh, come on!
It's gonna melt outside.
It's melting' inside too.
[Moonee and Scooty walk out]
Thank you very much!
You're not welcome!
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DaFoe is utterly brilliant but the film leaves much to be desired.
The Florida Project is the third feature film from writer-director Sean Baker and, while being an improvement over Tangerine and Starlet, The Florida Project is still missing the heart it needs to be an everlasting and impactful film. From his cinematic conception, Baker has had a knack for showing very dingy lifestyles bursting with a color palate that would make George Miller weep. But underneath the colorful array that he includes is a superficial mess of a film. One that thinks it is smarter and more heartfelt than it really is.
Telling the story of a young girl living in a by-the-hour motel ran by a seedy motel manager (Willem DaFoe) with a heart of gold and having a drug abusing, prostitute mother doesn't exactly translate to feel good. The young girl decides to let her imagination take wind and shield her from the harsh realities of life. While this sounds like it should hit hard, it doesn't. Not even a little bit. The problem that Sean Baker has in all of his films is his characters. All of them are begging for sympathy when sympathy is the last thing they deserve. While I think the young girl, Moonee, deserves our sympathies, no one else does. Every one in this film has gotten themselves here by their own doing and Baker tries desperately to make us feel for them. It may work on some audiences but it was wasted on me.
Overall, this feels like a cheap grindhouse drama that really doesn't do any favors to the actors. The cinematography in the film is top notch and definitely shows that Baker has a visual eye but, as with his previous 2 films, the story is severely lacking. While I definitely think Baker has talent, it doesn't lie within his original stories. For those of you who enjoyed Baker's Tangerine or Starlet, give this a shot. Anyone else, you might want to skip it.
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