I've had to sleep on this a couple of nights before figuring out how to write or talk about this movie. Is it this year's Manchester By the Sea? ...maybe.
There's so much subject matter to dodge talking about since I would never want to colour anyone's viewing of this movie. i went in completely dark.
It's basically the story of what life is like for a kid growing up, living in discount inn(s) close to Disney World, where her mom can barely afford to live full-time. So it's a mix of what the kid(s) does to pass the time, and what the mom does to try and earn a living. That's a pretty clean description, but there are layers upon layers upon layers of things going on in this movie.
I'm sitting there watching the movie thinking, 'yeah, this is a pretty ugly and difficult movie" and then these occasional moments of bliss and huge happiness come out of nowhere, as do feelings of worry and concern. If you have a kid, the impact this movie will have is far greater, that's for sure. I didn't even realize this movie had its hooks in me until the very end. And what…an… end.
Willem Dafoe (i almost put Denis Leary, lol) is unbelievable as the hotel manager. There were times I wondering if he was supposed to be the main character. I would love to see him get a supporting actor nod.
But the KIDS in this movie... oh man.. the kid actors are the best I have ever seen. Brooklynn Prince as Moonee is outstanding and pulls off something I have never seen a child actor pull off before. To the point that I wondered if it was CGI. I was a total wreck in that pivotal scene.
This is one of those movies where some people question why they would want to see it. "I go to the movies to be entertained, that's all." There's nothing wrong with that type. But if you're like me, and you go to movies to escape and to feel, then don't miss this. At the end of the movie, the ENTIRE theatre stayed seated as the credits rolled. NO ONE got up. I have never seen that happen before. We all just sat there and tried to process what we were feeling. Who is this Sean Baker writer/director fella and how is so able to play my heartstrings like a master fiddler?
Heart rating: 5 stars
Brain rating: 4.5 stars