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Dominic West

In 'The Florida Project,' dreamers toil in the shadow of Disney World

In 'The Florida Project,' dreamers toil in the shadow of Disney World

In director Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project,” the happiest place on Earth is really an unmagical kingdom.

The setting is the Magic Castle, one of the low-rent Kissimmee motels dotting U.S. Highway 192 in the shadow of Disney World where the near homeless struggle to survive. Still, the Magic Castle, a three-story palace with light-purple stucco, is an enchanted place for 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince), the troublemaking leader of a group of kids who entertain themselves by bilking tourists for ice-cream money. But it’s no paradise for Moonee’s mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite), nor for the Magic Castle’s property manager, Bobby (Willem Dafoe).

Much critical...

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