A gem of a movie: Rashid Irani reviews The Florida Project
It’s had a delayed and limited release, but seek out this fine film about a precocious six-year-old, a candy-coloured housing block and a long hot summer.
It may not have made the Oscars list, but The Florida Project is one of the finest films of 2017. It’s been accorded a belated and extremely limited release, but deserves to be singled out from the inane blockbusters currently clogging the multiplexes.
The plot pivots on a precocious six-year-old girl (the astonishing Brooklynn Prince) and her unemployed single mother (Bria Vinaite, in a star-making debut) who eke out a hardscrabble existence at a cheap motel in Orlando. The girl and a couple of her friends galumph around a candy-coloured housing block during the course of a long, hot summer.
The film was co-written and directed by Sean Baker, whose previous film Tangerine was shot entirely on an iPhone. Without a trace of sentimentality, it chronicles the carefree innocence of childhood even as the children intuit that there are no easy answers to the problems they face.
Willem Dafoe is outstanding as the motel manager, whether he’s accosting a probable paedophile or shooing a flock of cranes. The penultimate scene will have you sobbing.
Make sure you see this gem of a movie before it makes way for more audience-friendly fare.