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Film Review: The Florida Project

“The Florida Project” is a colourful tale of a mother and daughter who live in a motel near Disneyland.

This film covers the ups and downs of the struggles and highs for people living this way of life, without judgment. We follow young Moonee (Brooklyn Prince) and her friends, as they navigate life in the motel and the challenges they face there.

The setting of “The Florida Project” creates a perfect juxtaposition between the grittiness of the story and the dreamy purple paint of the location. The Magic Castle, the motel which is residence to Moonee and her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite), is presented as a haven for tourists on the outside, but inside live a struggling subsection of society, who are on the cusp of being homeless.

“The Florida Project” is a look at the lives of Moonee and Halley during this moment in time. The film ends as the summer ends, and is meant to be a snapshot of their life in this brief section of their existence.

Brooklyn Prince gives an excellent performance as Moonee, she is a believable rebellious ringleader and cheeky troublemaker. Alongside Prince, Willem Defoe gives a great performance as Bobby, a bedraggled hotel owner with a soft side. The two compliment each other to create a heartwarming relationship.

Bria Vinaite gives a great performance as Halley, an unruly young mother trying to provide for her daughter by any means possible. Her character seems very realistic and human, with her own glaring faults and problems to deal with. Halley does sometimes-despicable things, but like Moonee the audience forgive her terrible actions because we can see it is out of love for her daughter.

Telling this story from Moonee’s perspective is a good narrative decision, as she her point of view brings an innocent perspective to the story and shows poverty from a different angle. In spite of Moonee’s somewhat desperate situation, she manages to make every day interesting, whether it be causing mischief around the motel or taking her friends on grand adventures. “The Florida Project” doesn’t belittle and look down on the people like Moonee and Halley, but aims to tell their story in an honest way, looking at both the good and the bad.

“The Florida Project” isn’t a conventional story, but is a character study looking at a moment in time of people that exist on the fringes of society.

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