“The Florida Project”: how the poor really live near the big theme parks (especially the kids)


The Florida Project”, directed by Sean Baker, confronts the viewer with the “real life” of poor people living in transient motels near the Disney theme parks in Orlando.

In the past, we could have gawked and scorned.  We probably can’t get away with that now.

Halley (Bria Vinnaite) is a single mom raising a seven year old, Moonee (Brooklyn Prince) and, as the film opens, taking care of two other kids.  The kids are always annoying other residents and getting into trouble, and Halley becomes combative in trying to defend them when the motel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe) challenges her and repeatedly threatens to evict her.

Bobby has a tough job, implementing rules demanding by corporate, and uses his people skills to the fullest.  One of the most telling scenes occurs about 40 minutes into the film when he chases an old man off the premises once he suspects the man is a sex offender.

But mischief occurs constantly. The kids somehow get into the power room and turn it off.  Later, they set fire to a nearby vacant motel to watch the fire department come. Toward the end, the police will get involved with CPS as to whether Halley is a fit mother, which means a need for foster care.  But the kids may get to see the Magic Kingdom.

The film shows the quasi-attractions around the parks for low income people pretty well.

Picture: My trip, July 2015  (Pulse would happen in 2016.)

Name:  “The Florida Project”
Director, writer:  Sean Baker
Released:  2017
Format:  2.35:1
When and how viewed:  Landmark West End, 2018/1/3, afternoon show, surprisingly well attended, appears to be young adults from GWU
Length:  115
Rating:  R
Companies:  A24
Link:  official

(Posted: Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at 8 PM EST)

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