☆ sophie ☆’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Florida Project was my first Sean Baker film, and I was impressed with the realism that he projects. As a Florida Native, I visit the Orlando area all the time and easily recognized a lot of the buildings. I was in shock by the genuine authenticity of the area surrounding Disney World that most "tourists" will never see. There is a lot of poverty in and around Disney and Orlando. Many people who live in these older motels were once the main tourist hotels before Disney started isolating their guests by building Disney hotels on their property only. What hurts the most is that because they are hotels, the families that live there are technically considered homeless.
I liked the way that the director addressed the irony of the fact that Moonee and her mom were in such a struggle for sheer survival that, although they lived in the "shadow of Disney World," they couldn't afford to go and enjoy it - as so many can. Yet, Moonee didn't seem to mind as she never really seemed to "feel" poor. Another element I would like to touch upon is the camera work. It's one of the coolest storytelling methods for a film such as this that is mostly from a child's point of view. The colors being so vibrant and wide angles that show how big the world really is.
The end was my favorite part of the film. Once Moonee and her friend "take off" and run away, the camera changes to iPhone - almost as it was unhinged or "set free," like the kids. The run away to The Magic Kingdom, and everything just seems magical and infinite at that point. Its a rather beautiful ending that reflects the innocence of the mischievous but ultimately, innocent children.
One last thing I want to touch upon is that there are several great shots with a helicopter zooming away. Baker and his crew had to film around Helicopter training sessions so they used it to their advantage. This was a great part of the film that was subtly used. To me, it represented freedom and escape from the world, referring to how fast it can get away. It is not every day you come across a film like The Florida Project, and I definitely intend on revisiting it again, as it is simply rewatchable. Getting a taste of authentic realism in art nowadays is one of the most beautiful gifts we can receive.