It is the irony that a place filled with happiness, excitement and indulgence is proximal to a haven of desperation. Halley, Moonee and Moonee's friends, who live in the motel or others like it along the strip and who she often drags into her disruptive pranks, are often the bane of Bobby's existence, but while dealing with whatever problem arises, Bobby has a soft spot especially for the children and thus, by association, their parents, as he knows that Moonee and others. Being one of that substantial number of the under-whelmed myself, I would suggest saving your time, money and compassion. The exceptional acting is but a testament to what the Director can do. One of the best films about childhood, this is more Ken Loach than Walt. Now, I'm not saying this film is as bad as Moonlight, but it's not far off. There needs to be some conflict or problem or mystery to be solved.
There needs to be a story that holds our interest and makes us want to know what happens next and how the story will end. Halley lives with her six year old daughter Moonee in a budget motel along one of the commercial strips catering to the Walt Disney World tourist clientele outside Orlando, Florida. If you have nothing to say, don't make movies, if you do, have the courage to say it, if 'saying' for you means merely posing the questions and not delivering the answers then you need greater skill as a filmmaker, and more respect for the audience. The Florida Project carries off these little sequences building it upto something more than one can imagine and flaunts it all over the screen like a magician. It's hard to care about characters when you don't know anything about them. As much as she loves her daughter, she is just not a good mother, and another reason why child welfare services are a necessity to protect young children.
The lead child actress is amazing in it and supporting her all through the course of the movie is Willem Dafoe who easily resembles to any man in charge of the responsibilities; he is simply brilliant in it. I thought this was going to be one of best films of the year, its actually one of the worst. The films ending is the most egregious aspect of the film, in that it isn't an ending at all, its weakness undermining the better parts of the movie and making it even less substantial than it otherwise might have appeared up until then. It exhibits genuine shallowness and naivete as well as the fragility and hysteria of a child. The 2 out of 10 was me being generous. What made Halley and Bobby the people that they are? Although the motel's policy is not to allow long term rentals, Bobby, the motel manager, has made arrangements for people like Halley to live there while not undermining the policy as he realizes that many such tenants have no place to go otherwise. Willem Dafoe who has always impressed me is ok but he's not given much to do.
Halley, who survives largely on welfare, has little respect for people, especially those who cross her, it an attitude that she has passed down to Moonee, who curses and gives the finger like her mother. The movie has no plot. It may have more integrity, and be more genuine, but it's just another version of not good. Halley, who survives largely on welfare, has little respect for people, especially those who cross her, it an attitude that she has passed down to Moonee, who curses and gives the finger like her mother. Sometimes you get some real boring stuff like Manchester By The Sea, Moonlight or this film. A movie needs a goal that the characters are trying to achieve. At one point, Halley says something in passing that reveals a little bit of information about her life before the events depicted in the movie, and that's all the backstory we are given for her.
The other thing that bothers me about the writing is the lack of backstory for the characters. I gave 2 stars because the acting is good, but the plot is thin, annoying and stressful. The many rapturous professional reviews for this film are unfathomable to me and many others. Subtly returning and forward between the viewpoints of the kid and grown-up characters, the film has, on occasion, a relatively otherworldly pragmatist vibe, however nothing remotely heavenly or strange comes to pass. By the end of the film you seriously cared for the characters. It creates a goal that the characters can strive to achieve.
Halley, who survives largely on welfare, has little respect for people, especially those who cross her, it an attitude that she has passed down to Moonee, who curses and gives the finger like her mother. This movie has no story. When I go to a movie, I want to be entertained, inspired or enlightened. A very low 'production values' condescension to the range of real people caught in this precarious position. And Sean Baker is ready to take all the responsibility for it and he carries it all around on his shoulder shooting and editing some of the most precious moments on the screen it may remind you of those little clips that were shown in American Beauty; remember the guy that used to shoot any clips who lived across Kevin Spacey. I cannot understand the good reviews, Award Nominations and Wins. That would have been an interesting movie.
Don't see this if you are looking for a feel good movie. If we are to revere something just because it is naturalistic and as meandering as some lives, then we don't need storytellers to apply form at all, but that doesn't work for me here. Apart from that, there's lots of cigarettes, foul language, tattoos and naughty kids to enjoy, but no real plot or character development. The premise is simple and the story is basic. Basically, kids doing what kids do, abusive parents, terrible ending.
How did Halley and Moonee end up living at the motel? A non-spoilery tip: In order to appreciate the ending it is worth noting that the story is told through the eyes of a child. It reads like a documentary how fashionable but it isn't, and as such, for my twenty bucks, I feel entitled to more care by the filmmaker. Let me start with a positive. Not because of the subject matter, but because of the cringe factor. I'm always pleased to see a movie that talks of a community less represented, and it's clear that there is a filmmakers sensibility in there somewhere, the one that shows these underdeveloped adult children living in a world not unlike the primary coloured plastic toys that the real children play with carelessly, so it deserves genuine consideration.
Even the sounds are irritating, either children making noises, to the helicopter pad outside the hotel that constantly had helicopters taking off and landing. You can't even see the effort to tell a story. Most of the movie is about unsupervised children acting like brats and getting into trouble. I have read several of the high star rated reviews and still cannot understand why this film is so highly rated. The movie consists of scene after scene of obnoxious kids running around doing bad things, a young woman named Halley trying to earn money by engaging in various shady activities, and a motel manager named Bobby doing his job. Who is Moonee's father, and what happened to him? However, this film had the completely opposite effect on me.
Similarly Bria Vinaite looks one to watch. The kids were annoying little brats, the mum was an arsehole who got worse, the friend was an arsehole. A look at the hardscrabble lives of a young mother who turns tricks to stay afloat with her young daughter. Although the motel's policy is not to allow long term rentals, Bobby, the motel manager, has made arrangements for people like Halley to live there while not undermining the policy as he realizes that many such tenants have no place to go otherwise. The film is remarkably upbeat in spite of its character's economic frailties. The Florida Project has the perfect amount of drama with a dash of gaiety. The movie does a good job depicting the lifestyle of the characters in their environment, but that's all it does.