The Florida Project — And We Don't Mean Disney World

The Florida Project — And We Don't Mean Disney World

A Movie Review on Sean Baker's The Florida Project


Balancing optimism and desperation, Sean Baker's "The Florida Project" has brought an unusually told element of reality and compassion into American Cinema. Set in an Orlando motel neighborhood hit particularly hard in the 2008 recession, The Florida Project plays on the irony of immense poverty so near the extremely wealthy and "happiest place on earth" (Walt Disney World). Also, it emphasizes the veneer humans so often tend to place on the brutal side of reality by calling drug and prostitute-stricken motels fanciful names such as "The Magic Castle." Set almost entirely from six-year-old Moonee's perspective and inspired by the Little Rascals, the film sets the audience's childhood memories on fire. With vibrant pastels illuminating the scenes and Foley sounds louder than what seems normal, the heightened senses of a child are brought to the forefront. Precariousness drives the film as the main character, Moonee, played by first-time feature film actor Brooklyn Prince, lives blind to danger in her dream world where nothing negative exists and all is her playground, even the sketchy motel village where she lives.

Baker forces the audience to follow the intimate moments between the children throughout the film not only in scenes that advance the plot, but in exposition scenes of the children simply jumping on the bed, dancing, talking, and performing normal, everyday activities that make the movie true experiences of life rather than a structured plot of order and normal composition. The movie captures a beautiful string of precarious events, such as when, in the film, a group of six-year-olds are shown walking alone along the highway to an ice cream stand where Moonee convinces her friends to scam tourists to buy them ice cream. Moonee lives oblivious to any of her wrongdoings and undergoes no punishments even when she ends up single-handedly burning down entire condo buildings. Consequent to her delinquent and dangerous actions, the audience finds themselves attaching to the characters as they paternally worry. A natural response would normally be to dislike the parents who allow for the six-year-old to live in such a wild and even delinquent manner. Where is her guidance? Where is her protector? At the same time, however, Moonee's mother, Halley, played by Bria Vinaite, a first-time actor found by Baker via Instagram, is a wild, unattached, pothead of a character who gains sympathy from the audience despite her downfalls due to her impoverished, independent, and immature state. The conditions she faces, being so unique and despairing to the audience, create a loophole that blurs their ability to judge her as well as many of the other characters. Additionally, although Halley continuously smokes weed and yells offensive terms in front of Moonee, it is obvious that she lives her life trying to provide for Moonee and to give Moonee the best life she is capable to give with what she has, mentally and physically.

In this way, the movie does a beautiful job of suspending judgment and extending sympathy without being unethical. The movie does a fantastic job of making the audience question what is ethical and how they should feel towards this unique mix of characters. Bobby, the manager of the motel played by formally-trained and well-known Willem Dafoe, acts as one of the only mature and father-like characters in the film. From protecting the children from molesters on the playground to caring for families on the brink of eviction, Bobby stands as a beacon of morality amongst the corruption.

At the end of the film, when the main character, Moonee, becomes aware that she will be taken by child services, reality pops her bubble of illusion and precariousness for the first time and she is brought to tears. Running away from reality with her friend who lives in the motel next door, the movie takes a lyrical and setting leap that emphasize the contrasting and symbolic nature of the film by bringing a crying Moonee to a fanciful and seemingly-sublime Disney World. Telling an untold and joyfully troubled story of experience, the movie is a masterpiece of suffering and joy, of desperation and imagination, and of empathy and judgment that will transcend time.

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13 Taylor Swift Lyrics About Love

“We could get married. Have 10 kids and teach em how to dream."


Taylor Swift is the only reason I've gotten through every love, and every break-up. Here's a list of 13 lyrics/quotes about love from Taylor Swift's albums.

“Losing him was blue like I’ve never known. Missing him was dark grey all alone. Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met. Loving him was red.”

"Red" from the album "Red." This song perfectly describes every feeling that radiates through your entire being when you love and then lose someone.

“I wish we could go back, and remember what we were fighting for. I wish you knew that, I miss you too much to be mad anymore. I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good. I wish you would.”

"I Wish You Would" from 1989. Sometimes I wish it was acceptable to just blast Taylor Swift during an argument because I totally would.

“You learn my secrets and you figure out why I’m guarded. You say we’ll never make my parents mistake.”

"Mine" from Speak Now. Let's surpass everyone's expectations.

“My baby’s fly like a jet stream, high above the whole scene, loves me like I’m brand new.” 

"Call It What You Want To" from the Reputation album. Once in a lifetime, there's someone who looks at your scars and calls you strong and brave, instead of damaged.

“My mother accused me of losing my mind, but I swore I was fine.” 

"Dear John" from Speak now. Love makes you do crazy things.

“One night he wakes, strange look on his face. Pauses then says ‘you’re my best friend’. And you knew what it was. He is in love.” 

"You Are In Love" from the 1989 album. Swift gives me chills with this song. Every time you think you're in love, you realize that the last time wasn't even close. True love, happens once or twice, and not for everyone.

“You pull my chair out, and help me in. And you don’t know how nice that is, but I do. And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid. I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny cause, he never did. I’ve been spending the last eight months, thinking all love ever does is break, and burn, and end. But on a Wednesday, in a cafe, I watched it begin again.”

"Begin Again" from the Red album. One of my top five favorite songs. Real love shows you how you should've been treated all along.

“Why would you wanna make the very first scar? Why would you wanna break a perfectly good heart?”

"A Perfectly Good Heart" from the first Taylor Swift album. Some people are only here to take. Never to give or share.

“The rain came pouring down, when I was drowning that’s when I cold finally breathe. And by morning, gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean.”

'Clean' from 1989. It can take years, even lifetimes, to finally feel free from love.

“There I was again tonight, forcing laughter, faking smiles, same old tired lonely place. Walls of insincerity, shifting eyes and vacancy, vanished when I saw your face. All I can say is it was, enchanting to meet you.”

'Enchanted' from Speak Now album. Love at first sight?

“Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone, I’ll be waiting all that’s left to do is run. You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess, it’s a love story, baby just say yes.”

'Love Story' from Fearless album. This song makes me want to take a chance and escape with a stranger.

“I once was poison ivy, but now I’m your daisy.”

"Don't Blame Me" from Reputation. I'm only better when I'm with you.

“We could get married. Have 10 kids and teach em how to dream.”

"Starlight" from the Red album. Only certain people are worth growing with.

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