I think the ending of The Florida Project is one of the most powerful I have seen in a good few years. It’s a film with many strengths. The writing is earthy and fresh. Poetic too…
“You know why this is my favourite tree? Cause it’s tipped over, and it’s still growing.”
The performances are something else altogether, particularly the children (the UK DVD extras detail the care taken to select and nurture the film’s young actors).
The editing strikes just the right beats.
And then there is the cinematography, in particular: truly beautiful, perhaps unexpectedly so, and unusually thoughtful (the framing carefully keeping to eye-level for shots of the children, never looking down on the film’s properly childish protagonists). You can read more on the technical work here.
It enters a canon of carefully observed films that refuse to patronise either its young cast or the social context it seeks to represent.
And then there is its ending.
I am not going to spoil it – though if you would like to know more, there’s this excellent account here – other than to say it marks an unexpected, fantastical and wholly brave shift in the film’s narrative and aesthetic. With your wits about you, you will realise that we have moved from a certain kind of conventional -if raw- film-making to guerilla, clandestine shooting. It is, in its very particular way, utterly devastating and re-frames all that has come before it. In a single, audacious move, director Sean Baker took my heart, threw it up in the air for a single exhilarating moment, then squeezed the living daylights out of it.
It’s out now on demand and to buy on DVD. Not everyone that I have recommended it to, has liked it. It’s the sort of film that looks at where the rainbow ends, and it isn’t necessarily pretty. Though it also kind of is.
I want the film – and just the film – to speak for itself. I’m pretty convinced it’s a great piece of work that sits somewhere under the rainbow. In plain sight, yet out of sight and out of mind.