Warm, winning, and gloriously alive, the latest film from Sean Baker (Tangerine) is a deeply moving and unforgettably poignant look at childhood. Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, THE FLORIDA PROJECT follows six-year-old Moonnee (Brooklyn Prince in a stunning breakout turn) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinai, discovered by Baker on Instagram) over the course of a single summer.
Mother and daughter live week to week at The Magic Castle, a budget hotel managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion. Despite her harsh surroundings, the precocious and ebullient Moonee has no trouble making each day a celebration of life, her endless afternoons overflowing with mischief and grand adventure as she and her ragtag playmates - including Jancey, a new arrival to the area who quickly becomes Moonee's best friend - fearlessly explore the utterly unique world into which they've been thrown. Unbeknownst to Moonee, however, her delicate fantasy is supported by the toil and sacrifice of Halley, who is forced to explore increasingly dangerous possibilities in order to provide for her daughter.