Moonee (Brooklyn Prince) is a 6-year-old girl who lives with her mom (Bria Vinaite) in a hotel near Disneyworld and spends her days playing with her friends (Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, and Aiden Malik), blissfully unaware of how precarious her little world really is.
This is a really extraordinary film that builds a full, complex portrait of the small community that calls this hotel home out of myriad closely observed little moments. Prince’s naturalistic performance is relaxed and utterly convincing, a testament not only to her natural talent but to director/co-screenwriter Sean Baker’s ability to direct children. She is sometimes infuriating and sometimes sweet, just like a real kid. It is a long, slow heartbreak throughout the film to see her living this life that cannot go on this way. Willem Dafoe turns in another memorable performance as the hotel manager, tired and sad but kind, who we just know has seen this story a thousand times before.