Cert: TBC Runtime: 115 mins Director: Sean Baker Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, Bria Vianaite, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones and Maicon Blair
Welcome to a magical kingdom
Sean Baker caught the attention of the cinematic community with Tangerine , he was known as the i-Phone movie guy! But now he’s just Sean Baker. Truly if you have watched it you knew there was something special about his style and the stories he wants to tell. The Florida Project was part of the Directors Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival 2017. So what is the premise for The Florida Project? A precocious six year old and her ragtag group of friends who’s summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and adventure. While the adults around them struggle with hard times. The Florida Project is probably one of the real jewels at Cannes this year. It has received nothing rave reviews and praise from anyone that has seen it. It’s a shame it wasn’t in the main competition! But the word of mouth this film has had, has given it the attention it deserves. Baker really has up’d his game here he seems to have hit his stride and I hope he can continue moving into future projects.
Florida Project is a bittersweet fairy-tale that hits home the issues of poverty. It made me aware of the issues in Orlando, Baker brings real suburban domestic American issues to the front. Considering the magic of Disney the surroundings of these Motels will make it a depressing journey. As a child you find happiness regardless of the world around you. Your sense of wonder and dreams cloud the actual issues. This is what Baker does here, we truly follow Moonee’s life and we see very little of the dark side. We as an audience interpret most of the time, we do see the real side sometimes and it’s depressing. His choice of vivid colours, shooting style and general artistry drive The Florida Project. Baker is well known for casting novices and unknowns in his films. Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vianatie are revelations here as mother and daughter. Brooklynn Prince’s character is a sweet young girl, irritating but sweet! She has great comedic timing but her dramatic side is truly electrifying.
Bria Vianatie was found on Instagram by Baker, as much as you should hate her you sympathise with her. She is a dead-beat but the lengths she goes to keep her daughter happy is humbling. As for Willem Dafe he really was the spine of the film. Probably one of his best roles in many years. He was harsh but his actions truly showed how much he cared for the community around him. His scene with Charlie Coachman was utterly eerie but it really cements the film as a powerful one. The Florida Project is made with love and it’s message and voice is so strong. From pacing, screenplay, acting, directing and cinematography….The Florida Project is one of the best films of the year. Sean Baker and his team deserved the standing ovation it received at Cannes.