The Florida Project (Sean Baker) 2017

The Florida Project follows six year old Moonee and her friends during a summer. She lives at a budget motel while her mother struggles to find work and earn money. I wanted to see this last year to complete my top 10 but this was a limited release film. I was interested not just by the reviews but of the director who did the also excellent Tangerine. Now by the description this may sound like a depressing tale of people on the edge of homelessness. However much like Tangerine, you can tell director Baker really loves his film subjects and shows them in a fun light. We go through the movie mostly through the lens of Moonee as she and her friends do childish shenanigans as they pass time during the summer. These antics are seen as playful and fun and it is a joy to see these kids make lemonade out of lemons. And through the eyes of Moonee we see the adult figures like the hotel manager/resident father figure played wonderfully by Willem Dafoe and Moonee’s mother who is both loving and immature.

Because the movie follows these kids it can get away with being both light hearted but also hitting us with powerful moments. Some of Moonee’s friends have to move out because their parents can’t find work, and without spoiling anything some truly heartbreaking things happen later on that are like a sucker punch that adds weight to everything. I could talk more about this movie but the thing is, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. If I had anything I could gripe about it is that it is a bit long at two hours and it doesn’t help having a meander-y feel since it is a slice of life instead of a structured narrative. But that being said I agree with YouTuber Nerdwriter in that this deserved a Best Picture nomination (not a win but a nom). This was an important film from last year and I really enjoyed it.

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