IMDb plot summary: Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.
Directed by Sean Baker. Starring Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valerie Cotto, and Bria Vinaite.
Mild spoilers ahead.
This is kind of an amazing movie. So much of that has to go to the character of the young child Moonee and the *amazing* actress that plays her. This is some of the best child acting I've ever seen. (That final scene with her and Jancey... Wow.) She's surrounded by equally great adult actors, but since most of the story centers around her viewpoint, she could have easily tanked the whole thing if she hadn't been perfect. Fortunately, that's not the case.
At first I wasn't sold on the ending. It reminded me of what I dislike most about the Coens -- their tendency to end their movies in the middle of a scene, and not even a scene that feels climactic. I had to do a little digging and read other reviewers' takes on the film's final few shots before I could get on board. Now, though, I think it works, and it left me feeling simultaneously hopeful and sad for the characters I'd grown to empathize with, though I couldn't say I'd grown to love them (they are so aggressive and combative I always felt myself bristling a bit as they interacted with others). I have a feeling this one will climb higher the longer I sit with it.
How it entered my Flickchart:
The Florida Project > Trainwreck
The Florida Project > Cloud Atlas
The Florida Project < Benny & Joon
The Florida Project < The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
The Florida Project > The Producers (2005)
The Florida Project > We're Not Married!
The Florida Project > Jack Goes Boating
The Florida Project < The Goodbye Girl (2004)
The Florida Project > The Great Race
The Florida Project < Get Out
Final spot: #514 out of 2666.