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Watched: 18 February

There are excellent, naturalistic performances by some relatively inexperienced actors (and one experienced actor) here, and a sugary, colourful look that captures perfectly the way that the pastels of the Walt Disney World Resort – once known as the ‘Florida Project’ during the planning stages – seep beyond its boundaries and across the Floridian businesses that surround it (and which rely to a certain degree on the megacomplex’s draw). The setting here is a hotel where many of the residents – single mothers and their children, predominantly, or at least those are the people director Sean Baker focuses on – are apparently fighting to raise enough money to keep a roof over their heads, the irony being that there is a block of empty, repossessed homes just down the road. Baker’s film is sympathetic and non-judgmental, but it doesn’t shy away from showing the consequences of a certain character’s actions either – and indeed it also subtly criticises the way figures in authority are forced by their employers to view other people’s situations purely in black and white terms. The director presents the candy-coloured world from a child’s point of view before effortlessly changing to the points of view of the stressed adults who also inhabit it, which is a masterstroke. One of the year’s best. (****½)