Brooklynn Prince stars as Moonee in her breakout role as a six-year-old girl living in the Magic Castle, a motel in Kissimmee, Florida, in the shadow of Disney World. She and her friends Scooty and Dicky spend their summer wreaking havoc on the motel guests, then having to answer to the owner, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), for their mischievous crimes like throwing a dead fish in the pool and dripping ice cream through the lobby. Moonee’s mother Halley lets her have fun, most often to cover up the reality of their impoverished situation. The film put the viewer into the eyes and mindset of Moonee, who finds beauty and excitement in spaces that would normally seem dark and uninhabitable. She brings magic to the motel, although it isn’t always welcomed by the guests and Bobby. When Halley turns to drugs and prostitution in an attempt to provide for her daughter, Bobby steps in as a guardian to both mother and daughter. The reluctant caretaker shields Moonee from the realities of her upbringing, protecting her innocence for as long as he possibly can. The film tackles American poverty and everyday life with crisp and beautiful cinematography provided by Alexis Zabe. It premiered at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, and has won several awards from the Hamburg Film Festival, Detroit Film Critics Society, and, most recently, the Golden Globes.
Directed by Sean Baker
Starring Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite
Running Time 1 hr 51 mins
Thurs, Jan 25 – 7:30 P (Post-screening film discussion with Prof. Peter Mascuch)
Tues, Jan 30 – 1:30 P (Post-screening film discussion with Prof. Jennifer Gagliardi)
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