[FILM REVIEW] The Florida Project finds light in darkness


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Through their parent’s problems, Moonee along with her friends seem to find a light in the darkness.

Anna Krebsbach, Staff Writer

The Magic Castle motel may be a home to many, being the kind of place someone would drive down the street and not notice. The Florida Project conveys a life that people forget exists: a life where not everything is given, and breakfast may or may not be available. The characters will leave a special mark on the audience that will keep them thinking. The movie received 17 major award nominations including the Academy Awards and winning seven of them including the AFI Awards and the EDA Female Focus Award.

Released in 2017 by A24 Studio, the movie tells a story about a young, struggling single mom named Halley, (Bria Vinaite) and her daughter, Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) who live in a motel in Orlando, Florida along with many other residents with children of their own. The motel is located in a poor neighborhood, and the movie contains explicit language and addresses mature themes. Viewers may see residents, even their own families, as bad influences for kids in the film. Halley and her daughter sell perfume in the parking lot just to get by. However, through their parent’s problems, Moonee along with her friends (Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, and Aiden Malik) seem to find a light in the darkness. The hotel manager, Bobby (Willem Dafoe) plays an outstanding role in looking out for the kids and showing he cares about them a lot.

The audience can forget about the repetition that exists in some daily lives or what people do to just get by. So the way that director Sean Baker reminds viewers of that is really memorable. Yes, people mess up, and no one is perfect, and that is why Moonee’s story is so important: No matter what is going on around, each person creates their own happiness. Watching the film brings a sense of empathy to the table for not just Moonee, but her mother, too. The Florida Project changes perceptions by bringing awareness to these kinds of stories and situations which can definitely change the thoughts that we have. Next time, driving by a residency like the Magic Castle will be different, because no one knows what is going on behind those closed doors.

Rating: ★★★