The Florida Project

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Rated Greg’s Top 5 kid performances

  1. Quvenzhane Wells (Hushpuppy) – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  2. Jonathan Ke Quan (Short Round) – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  3. Brooklynn Prince (Mooney) – The Florida Project
  4. Jonathan Lipnicki (Ray) – Jerry Maguire
  5. Macaulay Culkin (Kevin) – Home Alone

Last weekend, Rated Greg took Rated Mom to see The Florida Project.  What’s The Florida Project?  The Florida Project was the initial development name for what would eventually become Disney World in Orlando, FL.  It’s also a stunningly BEAUTIFUL indie movie from visionary director Sean Baker, who’s most famous for creating the first feature film completely shot on an iPhone (2015’s Tangerine).

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The film stars Brooklynn Prince as Mooney, a rowdy and misbehaving 7 year old girl living with her equally rowdy and misbehaving single mom (Bria Vinate) in a low rent motel on the outskirts of Orlando.  Similar to last year’s American Honey, Baker really tapped into garnering extremely vibrant, authentic performances by casting the untrained, first time actresses.   That tactic may seem like a recipe for disaster, but there’s literally nothing amateur about this production.  Prince is even getting slight buzz about possibly becoming the youngest Academy Award nominee ever (I think that’s a little overzealous, there should just be a separate category for kids, but whatever).  And I guess it helps that they’re working with steadfast veteran Willem Dafoe as the motel property manager, who’s a lock to get a supporting nom himself.  Mooney is basically an R Rated Dennis the Menace to Dafoe’s Mr. Wilson, except not a complete shithead.

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One thing to keep in mind is that there really is no plot to this movie (it’s definitely somewhere on the artsy spectrum).  Thirty minutes in I kept wondering if something big was going to happen to set things in motion, but the scenes of varying seriousness just kind of come and go randomly over the course of a summer.  This bothered me at first but by the second half I was all in.  It made me nostalgic, it made me laugh, it made me grateful, it made me sad, it made me happy.

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Rated Mom really liked The Florida Project too.  She appreciated experiencing a very different “slice of life” rarely represented in the entertainment industry or in our day to day bubbles.  Rated Mom did point out that she didn’t care for the ambiguous ending, but I think it fits. Life is ambiguous…… and for a film this authentically realistic, it’d be inconsistent to insert some Disney bullshit like a clear cut happily ever after.  After all, Mooney is far from Moana.  Grade: A+

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