The Florida Project: LFF Film Review

The Florida Project didn’t necessarily jump out at me on the LFF programme but it has received really good word of mouth from previous film festivals so I had to see if it was worth the praise, and it certainly is.

The film follows the lives of young girl Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince) and her mum Halley (Bria Vinaite) who live in a motel in Florida not far away from the Disney resorts. It is the summer holidays and Moonee spends her days running around the motel, neighbouring motels and establishments along the highway making trouble, playing and getting free food with her pals Jancey (Valeria Cotto) and Scooty (Christopher Rivera) while her unemployed mum sits at home and smokes weed and scrapes together enough cash for weekly rent for manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe) by peddling knock-off perfumes.

There isn’t a great deal of plot but it is so rich and real that you can’t help but get sucked in. It almost feels like a documentary the kids are so natural and the way the camera moves, it feels like it’s following real life and capturing a real conversation between friends. It didn’t seem like I was watching actors at all.

Prince is a revelation. I cannot overstate how amazing she is at such a young age. She blew me away. She was so natural, so comfortable around the camera, like she didn’t even know it was there. Moonee is a troublemaker, she’s not afraid of authority and she is very mouthy, grown up and far too sexualised for her age. She isn’t instantly likeable but Prince is captivating and you can’t stop watching her.

From the outside, they live poor, dirty lives but that’s all Moonee’s ever known and Halley may not be a great mum, but she’s still her mum and when she realises she’s under threat of being taken away, Prince’s acting steps up another gear. One moment towards the end broke my heart and while I was watching it, I was there ‘oh my God, she’s so good’.

The film isn’t going to please everyone cause it’s slow-moving and not much happens but it’s the realest thing I’ve seen in ages. It reminded me a lot of American Honey, probably due to the locations and the camera style. I didn’t love how it ended, you guys know I hate ambiguity, but I was immersed in the whole experience and it really delivers an emotional punch at the end.

Screening as part of the 61st BFI London Film Festival. Set for UK release on 10 November. 

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  1. […] a bunch of kids who live in a motel near the Disney resorts in Florida. You can read my review here. Released: 10th […]

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