Matthew Lickona 9:21 a.m., Sept. 29
The Florida Project
Director and co-writer Sean Baker’s lavender-tinted, tragedy-tinged followup to Tangerine trades Southern California for Florida but keeps its focus fixed on the margin and the sustaining dreams of its denizens. Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) is a six-year-old spitfire spending her summer vacation at The Magic Castle motel outside of Disney World — the sort of place where an unemployed stripper like Moonee’s mom Halley can struggle through with a little help (and free waffles) from her friends. (Baker loves his characters and knows his business, so it’s easy to excuse the sometimes indulgent depiction of Magic Castle living.) The kid’s days are spent in moseying and mischief, a feral Alice amid the wonderland of fantastical souvenir shops and food stands. It’s a sad old world, but she gets by on pluck and positivity: the belief that she’ll get away with things, that Mom will provide, that everything will be all right in the end. And she’s almost mostly right: her charm is undeniable, her Mom will do whatever it takes to pay the rent, and hotel manager Bobby (a weary but warm Willem Dafoe) keeps watch like a benevolent but overwhelmed god. But fantasy has its limits, at least outside the realm of Disney… 2017.
- From minx to hellcat • October 18, 2017