The Florida Project is a bright star among the cinematic landscape of 2017. A sort of Beasts of the Southern Wild or American Honey set in Florida’s Disney World central tourist area, Project is refreshingly original and largely a delight. I think there should be a “The <fill in the state> Project” featuring life on the edge in every state. Beasts filled that role for the Louisiana bayou; Tangerine for the streets of Hollywood (practically its own state), and Certain Women sketched Montana nicely (although I’d love to see a sequel).
The Florida Project stars a precocious young girl, Moonee, and her mother Halley; an important dynamic of the picture is that they’re both on about the same maturity level. Which is to say that Halley is far from being wise beyond her years. She screws up a lot — but this is her survival game. So Halley is nonetheless endearing — if not nearly so much as her daughter Moonee.
Back to the American Honey comparison: this movie was more real, with no hint of contrivance at all. Fresh, honest, and, as I said, mostly a delight. The only downside was a little lag/drag in the second half. Another comparison: like Beasts, The Florida Project works on you to gain your sympathies. I was a little on the fence between 7 and 8 until I watched the trailer again, which reminded me how much I loved these characters and the world they live in. 8/10
Comparison Notes: see above.