Real to Reel: The Florida Project

BBFC RatingReal to Reel: The Florida Project

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Certificate15
Year2017
GenreDrama
DirectorSean Baker
CountryUSA
Running Time1HR 51MINS
Extra InfoDiscussion
SeasonMain Programme

February’s Real to Reel screening is one of our favourite films from the last few years. Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a deeply moving and unforgettably poignant look at childhood.

22-year-old Halley (Bria Vinaite), and her six-year-old daughter, Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), live in a cheap motel near an Orlando freeway, a stone's throw from Disney World. That park — and every piece of mythology, consumerism, and fantasy it represents — might as well be on Mars for this mother and daughter, as Halley struggles to keep menial jobs to put a $35-a-night roof over their heads and sugary cereal on the table. Although her mother grapples with impulse control and a sad bewilderment at her chaotic life, Moonee grabs every day by the tail, corralling her pals from the next motel over to explore abandoned buildings, grift ice cream, and exuberantly prank the motel staff, most notably the ever-patient Bobby (Willem Dafoe). When life takes a further downward spiral, Moonee's defiant, no-holds-barred love for her mother defines her uncertain future. 

Baker's immersive examination of lives lived in the shadow of a fantasy world holds no clichéd, feel-good lessons about love or families. Instead, it boldly takes us to a place where momentary joys, a mother's devotion, and a spirited girl called Moonee can find a home. 

The screening will be followed by a discussion exploring themes of poverty, childhood and parenting, led by Dr Suzanne Mooney, Lecturer in Social Work, Systemic Practice and Family Therapy Programme Director, Queen’s University.

Real to Reel: Film and Social Life is a monthly sociological cinema series presented in collaboration with the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s University.