Florida Project Bria Vinaite Brooklyn Kimberly Prince

Welcome to a magical kingdom.

Fizzing with vitality, brimful of empathy and insight, this terrific movie immerses us in the lives of an exuberantly mischievous six-year-old girl and her reckless, feckless, floridly tattooed single mother, residents of a tatty Florida motel in the shadow of Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Sean Baker, maker of 2015’s eye-popping transgender drama Tangerine, conveys the playful exuberance of childhood as his rascally young heroine Moonee and her friends get up to all manner of impudent escapades. But he also lets us see the heart-breaking reality of their hardscrabble, hand-to-mouth lives.

Amid a largely untried cast, Brooklyn Kimberly Prince is astonishingly good as Moonee, as is first-time actress Bria Vinaite (discovered by Baker on Instagram) as her mother, while Willem Dafoe is warm and touching as the motel’s kindhearted manager.

Certificate 15. Runtime 111 mins. Director Sean Baker

The Florida Project is available on Digital, and on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from 12 March from Altitude Film Distribution.