The Florida Project is 2017 American drama film directed by Sean Baker starring Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera and Caleb Landry Jones. For many of the stars in this film, this was the first time they had ever acted in a movie. The story is about a six year old girl living with her defiant mother in a hotel in Kissimmee, Florida, as they try to avoid problems and make ends meet.
This film portrays how so many people living in poverty and/or welfare struggle to get by and the issues many of them face nearly every day. It shows how young children are brought up in this tough way of living and how they respond to the bad things their caregiver(s) do. This film realistically shows how so many people sadly really live. It is an eye-opener into a very harsh world, that makes you thankful for who and what you have and it is portrayed outstandingly.
Willem Dafoe does a really good job in this movie, I just wish his role had been bigger, so I really don’t think he deserved an Oscar nomination for this. He plays the role of the hotel manager where several of the kids and their mothers live. This was the perfect character for him and he wasn’t even in this much at all, very disappointing.
Bria Vinaite was excellent as Halley, Moonee’s mother. Her portrayal of a careless mother living in poverty was so good, so realistic. She was the character you’re supposed to hate and you definitely do, with her smoking, drug usage, promiscuity, foul language and carelessness of mom. You feel like Halley is a real person, because Bria did so well in her role, it was tailor made for her.
Brooklynn Prince was equally as great as Vinaite in her role as Moonee, Halley’s daughter. All of her actions and language were spot on and so believable. This being only her second film, she was surprisingly fabulous to the very end.
Seeing the world through the children’s eyes living absolutely dirt poor, was heartbreaking, but necessary for this film, to help viewers gain an understanding of the story and concept. Also seeing their mothers’ way of living was necessary too, showing how they raise their child(ren) and to know why the children act and talk the way they do. Seeing the extremely inappropriate things the mothers and children did was often hard to watch and I found myself saying, “Oh my gosh!” and “No!” throughout. Parts were a bit over the top, some of those scenes could have been shorter, like several of the violent ones, but they are there for many reasons and open our eyes up to a harsh reality that happens all the time.
Overall this is a very well done film that takes you into a world where there is nothing but struggles and getting into trouble. There needs to be more films like this one, that make you appreciate all that have been given. It may be a tough watch, but it is definitely worth it from beginning to end. 4/5