WHEN YOU WISH :: The Florida Project (movie review)

The Florida Project
The Florida Project
Some movies just come out of nowhere. I love it when that happens. If you've ever been to The Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios in Florida, you'll be very familiar with the area surrounding the parks. It consists of several long thoroughfares lined with souvenir shops, chain restaurants, hotels, and motels. Some of these motels are definitely lacking and have become home to many transients and those who live there from paycheck to paycheck or hustle to hustle. This is where our story begins, with a group of children just out of reach of the greatest place on earth.

Six-year-old Moonee (Brooklyn Prince) is the leader of the gang, and she is definitely her mother's daughter - full of wit, zeal, and hustle. Her young mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) would not win the contest for world's best mother. She cares about Moonee, but only as much as she can respect and care for herself. They live in a pink motel deemed "The Magic Castle". Monee plays with friends from there and another neighboring motel "Futureland".

The kids days are filled with as much freedom as they can handle, which leads to all kinds of trouble. At the same time the parents, especially Halley, are doing questionable things in order to pay the rent.

There is another surrogate - Bobby (with an incredible performance by Willem Dafoe), the manager of the motel is very protective of the kids. While he gets frustrated with them, he is caught between fixing the issues caused by the guests, the kids, Halley, and others.

Things quickly escalate when Halley turns to prostitution to pay the bills and the fallout that occurs.

Wonderfully directed by Sean Baker, this movie is almost always shot from the viewpoint of the kids. It captures their hopes and the fears wonderfully and the ending is incredibly magical. I don't want to spoil it, just go see it.