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The Florida Project

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Feb 21, 2018
The Florida Project

After the success of "Tangerine," director Sean Baker found delight and drama in another unlikely place: The children of America's chronically homeless families.

In "The Florida Project," a few such families intersect at a budget motel, a brightly-hued place near Disney World where a six-year-old girl named Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives with her young single mother Hallee (Bria Vinaite). Moonee's equally young friends dwell at the same motel, and at a similar place just down the road. The kids have foul mouths but sweet souls, and as a group, they explore their surroundings under the watchful eye of kindly motel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe, nominated for an Oscar for his performance).

Summer-like and upbeat as the movie is at its beginning, by the end it's turned into something different -- and something more: A meditation on how life's rough and ragged edges chip away at morals and happiness, leaving those who slip through the cracks with hollow dreams and dashed hopes.

Baker, co-writer Chris Bergoch, and much of the cast (including Dafoe, Vinaite, and the film's precociously articulate seven-year-old star) appear in a series of interviews about the movie, their experience making the film (many of the cast being non-professional or what Baker calls "first-time" actors), and each other. There's a fair amount of mutual back-slapping, but also a lot of insight into Baker's aims and working methods.

There's also a featurette about the film's production, which nips behind the scenes and reveals the beautiful bit of serendipity in which a rainbow -- originally intended to be produced with CGI -- showed up on its own, to the crew's amazement and gratification.

Bloopers and outtakes are also included.


"The Florida Project"
Blu-ray
$19.99
http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=The%20Florida%20Project

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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