Skip to main content

This Netflix movie has 96% on Rotten Tomatoes — and it's about to go away

Willem Dafoe as Bobby and Brooklynn Prince as Moonee in The Florida Project
(Image credit: A24)

Making the most of your Netflix account isn't just about following our Netflix tips and tricks. It's also about catching the best shows and movies before they leave Netflix (as all shows and movies do). 

And since we get to learn about these changes in the newly-dropped list of what's new on Netflix, we just discovered that you have less than 2 weeks to catch a critically-adored film starring Willem Dafoe. No, it's not a Spider-Man movie, it's something a lot more down to earth: The Florida Project.

Never heard of it? Well, get ready to dive in, as this indie gem seems to have gone under the radar for everyone except the critics, and looks like a perfect film to watch now that we're in awards season. (Don't forget to check out our guide for how to watch the Oscars online while you're here.)

When The Florida Project leaves Netflix

How much time do you have left? Well, The Florida Project leaves Netflix on April 5, 2022, so you have less than two weeks (based on the original publication date of this story).

And since the Oscars (and the nominees) may take precedence for film buffs, that means you don't have to rush to Netflix. You've got a whole 9 days after the awards are handed out to see it.

Why you should watch The Florida Project on Netflix

First of all, if you have Netflix, and you're always stuck in that "what should I watch?" dilemma, you should at least try The Florida Project because the critical praise is strong and (seriously) what's the harm in giving it a chance? Especially since it's about to go. Secondly, The Florida Project is distributed by A24 films, which rarely misses on quality.

The Florida Project shows that not all is magical outside of The Magic Kingdom. It takes place on the areas surrounding the highways outside of Disney World, where we meet six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite). They live at a budget motel known as The Magic Castle, which is run by manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe).

An original piece of work, and no one who sees it will forget it.

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

But let's take a look at what those critics have to say. For The Atlantic, David Sims highlighted the prowess of director Sean Baker, reminding us that this is the same skilled filmmaker who "documented the lives of porn actors in Starlet and trans sex workers in Tangerine with similar intimacy," and that Baker's continuing to tell tough stories without gawking at his subjects. 

Instead, "This is a story told with authenticity and power." Helen O'Hara of Empire Magazine brought up a similar note, writing that The Florida Project is "Vibrant and brimming with vitality," while being "empathic towards its subjects but fiercely critical of the system that victimises them."

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle commended The Florida Project as "an original piece of work, and no one who sees it will forget it." 

We all come to movies from different states of mind, which can influence how we handle and appreciate the stories told on the silver screen (or on our big screens). I say that up front because the overall consensus around The Florida Project says this film is sad enough that it might require a kleenex or two to dab away the tears.

J. Hoberman of the The New York Review of Books prepared audiences for this fact, writing "The Florida Project is certainly lively, but it is anything but redemptive. In spite of its episodic documentary quality, it traces an overdetermined downward spiral."

Next: When you've finished The Florida Project, check out the new movies and shows to watch this weekend. Plus, This great Netflix show just got canceled after only one season

Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.