Ever since A24’s surprising Best Picture for Moonlight at the Oscars everyone’s been wondering what they’d bring to the race this year. With quite a full slate of characteristically eclectic films it was The Florida Project that stood out the earliest. The follow up for director Sean Baker after his wildly well-received and Independent Spirit Award winning first feature Tangerine, The Florida Project was a hit at this year’s Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight.
The film stars two-time Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe (Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire) as the manager of a budget motel just outside Disney World and young Brooklynn Prince in a breakout, scene stealing turn as Moonee, who lives in the hotel with her young mother.
[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince in a stunning breakout turn) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite, another major discovery) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby (a career-best Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion.
Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious and ebullient Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure as she and her ragtag playmates—including Jancey, a new arrival to the area who quickly becomes Moonee’s best friend—fearlessly explore the utterly unique world into which they’ve been thrown. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter. [/box]
Right now I have The Florida Project as a Best Picture and Best Director contender as well as both Dafoe and Prince in the running for Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively.
A24 will release the film on October 6th. Here is the trailer and the poster.