The Florida Project

The Florida Project ★★★★★

Wow, I came at this very skeptically, but that was something else. I thought it would be derivative and sentimental, and I was so so wrong.

Pretty quickly into this movie, I began feeling intense guilt that I was enjoying it so much. My inner adult started asking, "Isn't what you're seeing really irresponsible, unfair and wrong?" For me, the only honest answer is yes, and not only that, but taking pleasure in others' hardship seems pretty exploitative, too. And while I haven't stopped feeling any of that, I enjoyed the rest of the movie all the same. It's just too funny, too beautiful not to. The script brings out a certain reckless abandon in the viewer that's exactly what you're seeing in the characters on-screen. That's how they get you. They just throw you into this world, and somehow, guilt, love, beauty and indignation manage to coexist in one moment. It's pretty remarkable, and with the important caveat that it's 6AM, I can't remember anything quite like it.

I'm also thinking about what it means for this movie to take place in the shadow of the theme parks -- a knockoff reality where people actually live in places called Magic Castle, Futureland, and Seven Dwarfs Lane. To me, the contrast reminds us that Disney wants to sell joy as something magical. Something that can't be found in real life. Something easy, fun and uncomplicated that they will spoon-feed you if you're willing to pay enough. It's hard to buy that once you start watching Moonee. Maybe we shouldn't be telling our kids that reality doesn't allow for joy, and that everything needs to go their way in order to find it.

In other words,
"The Kingdom of Magic is within you" --
Jesus (basically)

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azberman liked this review