Sean Baker has managed to capture the true innocence and sheer joy of being a child
A film at its absolute sun shining, and glorious best, The Florida Project is an absolute marvel as it looks into the difficulties single mothers on low incomes experience, as well as the duty of care that comes with creating homes for young children, through the eyes of life loving and naive children.
Bobby (Willem Dafoe) manages The Magic Castle Motel, a bright purple building located in the centre of Florida. Whilst tracking down tenants for rent, he is often followed by young Moonee and Scooty, as they play around the motel’s grounds. Causing as much trouble as possible, the pair’s mothers are either working or don’t care enough to control their children, something Bobby takes up as a forced responsibility.
The quality is led by the relationships Bobby builds with Moonee and her mother Halley, as they continuously bicker and about the rules set out at the magic kingdom. These relationships help to mask the underlying issues that become more apparent as the characters reach harder times. It is the strength of Bobby as both a human and a manager that radiates from the film’s more intimate moment, and Willem Dafoe plays the role so brilliantly.
Yet this goes for the children as well, where director Sean Baker has managed to capture the true innocence and sheer joy of being a child, in an engaging and realistic manner. Following the children around as they entertain themselves genuinely feels real, and Baker deserves huge credit for capturing this on film.
The Florida Project is an emotional rollercoaster that explores multiple themes from approachable and fascinating angles. It is a real highlight of the release calendar with a wonderful cast and a uniquely vibrant storyline.