The Movie: 8/10
I like movies about life. That doesn’t mean just documentaries. I want to explore different choices we all have available to us in our lives, but from many points of view. The Florida Project zooms in on a young mother and her daughter. They don’t have that packaged up life a lot of us live, a job, rent/mortgage, vehicle, Sunday lunches, holiday shopping, and all the rest. They live in a motel, one week at a time and our leading lady mom with her leading lady daughter, do what they can to survive. That does include a lot of things that we outsiders might judge, and yet who’s to say we’re right about all the “rules” we follow?
The performances of our mom and kid are amazing, nothing short of mesmerizing. I was hooked from the moment we meet both of them. Bria Vinaite and Brooklyn Prince are the movie. They grab me in every single frame, every word, every strained expression. The anger and hopelessness of our mom (Vinaite) sometimes shines through the desperation, and sometimes it barely sneaks out when she’s being a jerk….yea she can be a jerk! Willem Dafoe plays the manager of the motel and he does what he can to keep everyone from just falling apart. He is incredibly tuned into a kind of compassion that most of us would not be able to have in the situation. He’s the tough love older brother type, or the failed tough but soft fatherly type. Some would say he’s an enabler, and that’s true too, but it works for this situation.
Going back to how I like movies and stories about life, that’s how life works. We don’t all respond to every bullshit Oprah initiative, or Dr. Phil recommendation, or Judge Judy fake decisions and comments. We don’t all follow the health magazines and the right diets and the parenting books. In fact, most of us just live and this movie does a fantastic job of telling me the story of this young woman and how she’s living her life. I might not agree with all of her choices, but the way it’s done, her performance, and the choices she does make throughout all tell us who she is, and makes sense from her point of view.
I do like movies about life, and I love this movie because it’s unapologetic about who the characters are, and pretty fearless about not feeling judgmental, which I appreciate.
- Under The Rainbow: Making The Florida Project (22 Minutes) – An interesting look at behind the scenes and scouting the location for the film. The kids are the main focus here and it’s good to see how the director reigns them in for intense scenes.
- Cast & Crew Interviews (49 Minutes) – Interviews with all the cast and Director Sean Baker.
- Bloopers & Outtakes (3 Minutes) – Fun on the set.
- UV Digital Copy
Audio & Video: 8/10
The Florida Project comes to Blu-ray in a sun drenched AVC 1080P encode courtesy of Lionsgate films. Shot on film the movie is an absolute pleasure to look at, with stunning neon colors and an impressive sharpness throughout. Film Grain is preserved and adds a sheen to the image that is rarely seen these days. This is an impressive looking film and it makes me wonder why it did not get a Cinematography nod at the Oscars this year.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track starts with a bang as Kool And The Gangs celebrate bursts to life over the credits. For a talky drama style film there are also a lot of surround effects such as the helicopters taking off next to the Motel location. Dialog is crisp and clear and always central. The movie does not have much music but what it does have sounds crisp.
Overall Score /10