The Reel Review


Two years after his critically-acclaimed dramedy Tangerine, writer/director Sean Baker presents this unflinching portrait of the “hidden homeless,” poor people living at a dumpy, bedbug-infested motel on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida.

The irony is that the children are gleefully unaware of the precariousness of their situation, creating their own Disney-like fantasy world in the sad shadow of the real theme park.

Willem Dafoe turns out a solid performance as the well-meaning motel manager coping with a tragic assortment of unsupervised kids, teen moms, panhandlers, child predators and prostitutes. It’s a raw and utterly depressing character study. Like the lives of those portrayed in the film, it lacks an actual plot, and suffers from tediously slow pacing, both of which will deeply frustrate some viewers. But it shines a powerful light on a marginalized segment of our society.

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