yazz! *･ﾟ✧’s review published on Letterboxd:
spoiler alert, but not in detail but !! idk !!
"you're such a big girl, do you know that?"
the florida project is a story of magic and wonder vs. harsh realities and neglect.
it's recently hit me that i'm growing up, and it's really hard to accept the fact that there's no way for me to stop that from happening. i've been making playlists reminiscent of my pre-teens and early teens and crying myself to sleep listening to old one direction songs, taylor swift hits and the high school musical soundtrack. (pathetic i know).
this film took me back further though; in the florida project, we see the world through children. moonee's life is about feeling like a millionaire in the dollar store, sleepovers, ice cream, cows in a field being a safari, piggybacks, birthdays and candles, speaking without a filter, every walk being an adventure, the excitement of swear words, bath-time, sticky hands and jam sandwiches, messy ponytails...she doesn't know she's a "big girl" because she isn't concerned with being big; she doesn't watch the news because "it's so boring" - she doesn't want to see negativity. there are particular shots in this that highlight children's obliviousness to conflict - usually the back of their heads. we are unable to see their reactions or how they interpret the negative events, perhaps because they wouldn't understand them, likely because they don't want to understand them. (the only time we do see a reaction is at the very end of the film.) in moonee's world, everything is bright and big and colourful. early on in the film i wondered whether everything really was that beautiful and bold or if it were just the way that the kids saw the world.
there are so many allusions to space and dreams; moonee, halley, halley's moon tattoos, the decor of the room with dream catchers and wall hangings, even the clothing - i mean look at the poster. it shows the creativity and imagination of children, how they're not really on this planet at all - they're in their own minds and their own worlds. i definitely got lost in this film, i was only brought back to reality when a helicopter flew past (possibly a reference to the idea of other parents constantly watching their kids, observing their every move). the final ten minutes took me by surprise, i know they probably wouldn't have for most people, but i really went back to being tiny again. i was naive, i was enjoying watching her eat her breakfast. it wasn't until moonee and halley were walking towards their room that i realised what was about to happen.
the line, "i can always tell when adults are about to cry" echoed as i studied halley's face. it was obvious that it was unhealthy for their lives to continue on the way they were, but it was so painful to see moonee's world of fun, colour and freedom be destroyed. growing up is so, so messy and so terrifying and the moment she runs to see jancey is a moment in film that i don't think i'll ever forget.
mother-daughter relationships are not a rare exploration in cinema, but mother-daughter relationships like these definitely are. i'm unsure what halley's past consists of, but it's clear that things went wrong along the way; she doesn't know how to react to love and care - she falls out with her best friend, treats bobby - one of the best characters i've encountered - with a huge amount of disrespect despite everything he does, she freezes when hugged, there's even the scene where bobby has to count to three for her.
i've visited florida twice - once when i was very young and once when i was fifteen. this film took me back to 2014 and made me feel just as oblivious as moonee. this film called me out, both as a privileged teenager - blind to just how lucky i am in my life - and also as someone who has already forgotten what it truly feels like to be a kid. i'm only eighteen! how could i have forgotten? i feel so ignorant and i'm so angry with myself for accepting inequalities in my own everyday life. i chose my degree so i could learn to work and make a difference in the world, but what am i even doing in my own community? this film made me remember how many homeless people i pass in the street every day and how i've just gotten used to it - it's just an issue that's part of brighton.
- celebration at the opening and the alternate version at the end
- the last ten minutes were phenomenal (and painful and emotional)
- the little comments that the kids make so naturally - discussing oranges etc.
- willem dafoe vs. creepy, gross, old man
- jancey's birthday
- moonee speaking to jancey at the end
- THE FINGER-GUN SHOT it's small but i had to rewind, it was so beautiful
if you enjoyed this:
- american honey is a must
- i'd give little miss sunshine a go
- captain fantastic. (it's pretty different, but also not, i'm not sure how to explain it so just give it a watch, you might like it!)
side note: oh my god i spent an hour writing this and just exploring this film in my mind haha... but yeah as you all know these are my favourite kinds of films.