The Florida Project ★★★★½

This was my first dip into Sean Baker's film making. I missed Tangerine (2015). However, this film was so luminous and thought provoking without feeling forced or preachy.

The simple idea that in the shadow of the "Happiest place on Earth" there is a profound sadness. Not hating on Disney World because this could have been set on the outskirts of just about any resort community in America. Baker's camera is agnostic, like the children in the film. They don't judge, they don't see the difference between the tourists who are looking for a dream vacation and the dysfunctional adult who "raises" them.

The cynical realist in me says that mom needs to get out of her pajamas and find a real job so she can take care of her kid, but I tried to see myself through Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the Manager of the seedy motel they call home. Bobby cares for his tenants both literally and metaphorically. He might have a word of fatherly advice but he is quick to be supportive and caring especially for the kids.

This film is not in a hurry to get anywhere. It feels like the lazy sweaty days of my Florida childhood. A place filled with dreams and adventure. We cringe when we see reality closing in on our protagonists because we would much rather turn our back to reality and live in the fairy tale. Don't miss The Florida Project. It is rich and beautiful and ugly and destitute all at the same time, and I dare you not to laugh at Bobby talking to the birds.