Stream 'The Florida Project' In April If You Need To Believe That Warm Weather Is Actually On Its Way
Despite the fact that it's now April, many of us are still dealing with an influx of snow. The cold weather is super fun when it first hits around November, and even through the holidays, but when it's here at the end of March, and definitely at the beginning of April, it's seriously overstayed its welcome. Whether you experienced a light dusting or a giant dump of snow at the start of this month, you're probably aching for some sunshine. But while there are plenty of movies that take place in spring or have a spring-like vibe that will give you a touch of warm weather feelings, you've got to go straight to summer if you're aching for even higher temperatures. And that's where The Florida Project, streaming on Amazon Prime as of April 6, comes in.
Memorial Day weekend, when summer unofficially hits, is a mere 53 days away, but while you wait for that time to come, give The Florida Project a watch. The acclaimed movie takes place in Kissimmee, Florida, which lies right next to Disney World in Orlando; it's the area where seedy, knock-off Disney hotels and motels scour the areas outside of the Magical Kingdom. The gorgeously shot Florida Project focuses on the people who live and survive on the outskirts of the so-called "Happiest Place on Earth," many of whom are on a lower economic spectrum and struggle to make ends meet despite being surrounded by one of the biggest economies in the country.
Directed by Tangerine filmmaker Sean Baker, The Florida Project features a bright, neon, colorful palette similar to its predecessor. The vibrant look combined with the haze of humidity give the film a definitive warmth, with the slight suggestion that it's just a bit too hot. Florida is nice, but Florida in the summer can get downright disgusting. Watching the film, you can almost feel the clamminess oozing off of every surface, and the lingering heat adds to the tension of the film's plot.
The movie stars Willem Dafoe as Bobby, the manager of The Magic Castle, a motel that is painted an almost stomach-churning color of purple. Bobby acts as a sort of father figure to the many children who populate the motel and the others around it, with a particular affinity for six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her young, tattooed, jobless mom Halley (Bria Vinaite). The story of how Halley and Moonee survive each day while living in a motel, scraping for food, and having little to look forward to is a peek into how so many in the world live day-to-day. The film raises major questions about our country's economic classes and what those in poverty have to endure. But despite its serious subject matter, The Florida Project is not without its touch of happiness.
Though the film is often bathed in sunlight, electrifying with color, and steaming with tension, the real sunshine comes from the performances of some great kid actors. Prince, a total newcomer to the craft, is absolutely addicting to watch, and her natural ability to command a scene will surely lead to a long and successful career in showbiz, should she continue to act. The Florida Project may explore tough issues, but through the childhood lens of Moonee and her friends, there's always hope, always possibility, and always a rainbow waiting after the storm. And of course, tons and tons of ice cream, melting in the summer heat.
The movie bagged some major awards season nominations for Dafoe, including supporting actor nods at the Oscars, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards. Yet while both Dafoe and the film earned prizes from a number of critics organizations, The Florida Project sadly left the big awards ceremonies empty handed. Still, with the movie about to hit Amazon Prime, and its excellent critical response, it's sure to earn a spot in cinema history through a more word-of-mouth success. And with winter seemingly never ending, it's the perfect movie to pop on when you need to believe that warm weather is actually around the corner. Just don't forget to pick up a pint of ice cream on your way home.