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Imagine “Stand By Me” without a quest for a body, but with an occasional hooker mom, you are… no, still not anywhere near Florida Project. But they feel like relatives: Florida Project is also a feelgood movie about the beauty of childhood, the carelessness of roaming about your neighbourhood during the summer break, ignoring all your little world’s problems for a few weeks. The kids who live in the decrepit compound just outside the Magic Kingdom make the best out of the strange setting, skim off the tourists’ dreams and ice cream money. It’s not as if they are not aware of the financial duress of their families, the film’s heroine Moonee frequently joins her mother in her third- and fourth-job efforts to sell perfume to tourists out of a plastic bag and is made to witness and participate in the more dire efforts her mother engages in to make ends meet. But it is their world, and they embrace it and use it as their playground. They play and they joke (“there’s a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow who watches the gold pot” – “let’s go beat him up!”). They make friends and they lose them. They burn hoses by accident, just like every other kid, right?

That’s why the film , at the end of the day, is about the beauty of childhood, not about the calamities of the financially depraved. Merging the two into one light-hearted yet profound glance at a world most of us will probably initially feel very detached from works masterfully.

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