Kind of a sad film, but another child star is born.
‘The Florida Project’ is set in Orlando, but this is the city that has nothing to do with Disney World. (A concept I love; I just had a conversation with a friend about what life could possibly be like for people who live in tourism driven cities like this, Anaheim, or even Vegas.)
The story of the film is centered in one of those seedy hotels where half the rooms are occupied by people who actually, live at the hotel. The manager of the hotel is played by Willem Dafoe, who plays COMPLETELY against his own rep. No over the top facial expressions, no scene chewing; just a honest man playing boss and soft hearted father figure to the numerous young girls, and their children, who have taken up residence in his hotel.
The breakout here is Brooklynn Prince, playing Moonee, the central character of the film. Like all of us as children, she accepts her experiences as ‘normal’ because, what else does she know? Bumming free food from a nearby restaurant, begging tourists for change to get ice cream, just living in a hotel room with your mother. The pace of the film is a little slow in the beginning as it establishes the world of the film, but the payoff of the final sequence where Moonee quickly realizes that things are changing, is well earned.