This Blu-ray was provided by Lionsgate for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.
Landing the top spot on both my own and on Film Pulse critic Blake Crane’s best of 2017 lists, Sean Baker’s beautiful ode to youth The Florida Project is finally out on Blu-ray this week. Before diving into the nitty gritty of this review, I’d like to just state up front that if you have yet to see this film, picking up this release is a must.
Brooklynn Prince stars as Moonee, a rambunctious six year old who lives in a budget motel with her struggling mother, Hailey, played by Bria Vinaite. As Moonee and her friends begin their summer vacation, they enter a world of innocence and imagination, playfully oblivious to the harsh realities surrounding them. As Hailey attempts to make ends meet, the motel manager, Bobby (played wonderfully by Willem Dafoe), keeps a watchful eye on both mother and daughter.
With its incredible performances from the entire cast – specifically Brooklynn Prince, who delivers one of the best child acting performances I’ve seen on screen – Sean Baker lovingly presents an intimate and heartwarming, yet tragic, story while consistently keeping the audience engaged. Its realism, bright color palette and predilection for touching, human moments make it an absolute joy to watch multiple times over and truly a masterclass in filmmaking.
Lionsgate handled the home release for the film, which is sold as a Blu-ray/digital combo pack, a fairly standard practice for most new releases these days. The picture and sound quality are top notch, not much of a surprise there. As far as bonus content there’s a decent making-of featurette, cast and crew interviews, and a very brief blooper and outtake reel.
The making-of documentary is the highlight here, with plenty of fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits that provide tons of insight on Sean Baker’s process, including a mid-shoot rewrite that fundamentally changed the entire film.
The overall package is fairly average, but this is a film that screams Criterion release, so I’m really hoping for a future inclusion in the collection. For now, this is a more than competent release, but you won’t be missing much if you just pick up the digital version.
Whatever version you choose to pick up, The Florida Project is undeniably one of the best (and in my opinion the absolute best) films of last year and is a must-have for your collection. It’s a magical experience that I implore everyone to seek out.