starring Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Kimberly Prince, Bria Vinaite, Caleb Landry Jones
written by Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch
directed by Sean Baker
by Angelo Muredda "Stay in the future today," a motel sign ironically beams early in The Florida Project, Sean Baker's gorgeous, ebullient, and, as the kids say, problematic follow-up to his profile-raising Tangerine. The film is a contemporary fable about a cast of poor people, mostly kids, whose transient lives are lived in Kissimmee, Florida against the looming backdrop of Disney World. Their cheap motel rooms, hosted in a purple monstrosity semi-teasingly named The Magic Castle and negotiated week-to-week at best, serve as a temporary respite from homelessness, their inability to invest in a more permanent future rubbed in their faces daily by the tourists just passing through on their way to somewhere better. Dire as that might seem, Baker turns this downbeat 'America today' premise into the stuff of everyday beauty and wonder by lining up his brightly-lit but cool pastel aesthetic with the way his 6-year-old protagonist, Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince), sees the run-down souvenir shops, ice-cream parlours, and rival motels around her as a kind of raggedy jungle gym.