The Florida Project
Warm, winning, and gloriously alive, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a deeply moving and unforgettably poignant look at childhood. Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince in a stunning breakout turn) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinai, another major discovery) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget hotel managed by Bobby (a career-best Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion. Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious and ebullient Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure as she and her ragtag playmates—including Jancey, a new arrival to the area who quickly becomes Moon’s best friend—fearlessly explore the utterly unique world into which they've been thrown. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter.
Total Film/Jamie Graham
Poverty and poetry, delinquency and deluxe wonder… this child’s-eye view of lives on a knife-edge is terrific.
Vibrant and brimming with vitality, this is empathic towards its subjects but fiercely critical of the system that victimises them. The performances of Vinaite, Dafoe and Prince will stay with you.
Boston Globe/Ty Burr
In nerve, guts, heart, and mind — one of the finest films of 2017.
Time Out/Joshua Rothkop
Indie wunderkind Sean Baker continues his celebration of communities on the margins, in a movie that vibrates with compassion and energy.
Los Angeles Times/Justin Chang
It’s the tension between hardscrabble realism and buoyant fantasy — and the understanding that they are both, in fact, vital aspects of the same experience — that makes The Florida Project so powerfully unresolved.
The New York Times/A.O. Scott
This movie accomplishes something almost miraculous — two things, actually. It casts a spell and tells the truth.