A cheap Florida motel run by Bobby (Willem Dafoe) is largely filled with the hidden homeless families who lead a precarious existence without secure accommodation.
Little Moonee and her young mother Halley are among them, but Moonee is largely oblivious to her circumstances and runs wild with her friends as Halley struggles to make ends meet.
Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom opened in Florida in 1971, centered around a fairy-tale castle that promised visitors a spell in the happiest place on Earth. In its shadow, motels popped up to cater to a steady influx of tourists until, recently, these increasingly run-down establishments found a new clientele: Florida’s struggling working-class and unemployed families. These were people locked out of the housing market after the sub-prime crash and unable to find traditional rental accommodation. It’s in this unenchanted world that director Sean Baker sets his scene.