Sean Baker directs Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite and Willem Dafoe in this child’s eye point of view look at poverty line living in delapidated motels just beyond Disneyland.
A very vivid and energetic slice of ghetto tourism. A kinda Cathy Come Home mashed with The 400 Blows in a candy floss churner. I liked the strong child performances, the sense of chaotic fun in their imaginations, pantomime street attitudes, petty scams and vandalism. Their parents ain’t all that much more maturer or older than them. Dafoe is excellent as the firm but friendly, ever watching out for harm motel manager Bobby. The scene where he cajoles a pathetic nonce away from the unsupervised kids is a masterclass of restraint and everyday heroics. Give him Best Actor, Mr Woody Best Support, I’ve solved all your probs this award season Hollywood. Done. I’m not sure it is quite the completely uncyncical, unexploitative exercise that the critical praise seems happy to overlook. This is breadline tragedy made palatable for the Instagram age. And the fantasy dash finale left a hollow, bitter taste in my mouth personally. But as a kaleidoscope of tough living and kiddie bad behaviour it works well and affects.