Tay’s review published on Letterboxd:
i am not sure how i feel about The Florida Project, but i also don't think i can separate seeing this movie from tonight, which has been a very weird evening, but also maybe one of the best evenings, too
it started with dinner plans. dinner plans at a reasonable hour, actually. as in: i should've had time to eat dinner with friends and come home to start my final essay due on friday
but then we were walking back from dinner, and i asked trace what movie he was going to watch tonight after telling him i needed to write, and somehow or another we decided at 7:15 to catch an 8:15 showing of The Florida Project with amanda
and then audrey and melissa and rj joined us, and we squished into trace's car, and we drove down sunset, and we made it to the theater just in time... to realize the theater, for some stupid godforsaken reason, was 21+. none of us are 21, not yet, anyway.
so we're trying to figure out what to do. we've seen basically every decent movie that's out, or at least any decent movie that had a showing later than 8:15.
The Florida Project was showing again at 10:15 down in Santa Monica. i jokingly said we could just go bowling beforehand to kill the time.
turns out the bowling place we ended up at has a deal where after 6 pm on Sundays, it'll cost you less than 10 bucks to bowl a round AND rent shoes.
we bowled a game in less than hour, drove down the street, and dear god, we ended up with so much fucking popcorn for $2.00 because the concession stand was cleaning up and clearing out for the night.
and there was a lot of laughing as everything happened. everything about tonight felt incredulous, and only half-real, like maybe this was all an absurd dream, because how the fuck could all of this possibly happen on a sunday night before the last week of class?
i think i'm confusing some of my fondness and my confusion about tonight with The Florida Project. because while there were moments of this that i really appreciated, and while the coloring was so absolutely perfect, and while Willem Dafoe & Bria Vinaite gave exceptional performances... i don't know. there's a big, hazy je nais se quois'ness to how i feel about this movie. for all of its visual vibrancy and palpable capacity for emotion, i don't know if it ever moved anywhere significant beyond its perfected aesthetic & gestured at feeling.
maybe i had mismanaged expectations, and i was expecting the moments with the children to be a lot more wonderful, a lot more whimsical. i just found them to be toeing a certain sadness that i wish had more... something, again, i can't quite put my finger on it. maybe the ending is where i was expecting some sort of emotional, cathartic closure, but that final scene didn't do much for me except take me completely out of the last sequence's tension, which did actually resonate with me.
i think what will stick with me is the purpleness of Florida, the percipient but dazed look in Bobby's eyes, and tonight, all of it, because tonight's spontaneity came as close to feeling like a child again as i have felt in a very long time