Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith and culture:

The Florida Project worth checking out. The film goes into limited release this weekend. Warning: the movie contains raw language and situations but it does serve as a modern-day parable of an ordinary man (played by Willem Defoe) who manages a seedy welfare hotel just outside of Disney World in Orlando, Florida while also maintaining a heart of compassion. Director Sean Baker (who co-wrote the gritty naturalistic script with Chris Bergoch) deftly conveys a true-to-life world few of us have much, if any, awareness of.  The performances by Dafoe and the otherwise unknown cast are superb. Brooklyn Prince as Moonie, the six-year-old child at the center of the story, looks like a star of the future. Recommended.

SYNOPSIS (from the film’s press release): Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite,) live week-to-week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion.  The only people providing any sort of structure and hope at the motel are Bobby and a local church that delivers food every week to the desperately poor families living there.

Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious and ebullient Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the struggle and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter.

With The Florida Project, director Sean Baker gives life and a voice to a community rarely seen on screen. Through the eyes of Moonee, Halley, and Bobby, Baker has created a spellbinding and transformative portrait of contemporary lives lived in the margins that are otherwise too easily forgotten. National numbers are hard to come by as it is a transient population, but it is estimated that somewhere between 100-200 thousand people are living full time in motels.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus