What happened to Moonee at the end of the Florida Project? An Ambiguous Finale

The Florida Project’s conclusion carries additional significance for the film’s overarching theme.

Sean Baker is an independent filmmaker who has made a name for himself making slice-of-life movies that chronicle the largely unrecorded tales of those living on the periphery of contemporary American society.

His characters in The Florida Project, which centers on a poor single mother named Halley and her six-year-old daughter Moonee, who reside in an inexpensive motel in Kissimmee, Florida, fit into this pattern.

The pair lives in the cheerfully titled Magic Castle motel, which is only a few miles away from Disney World, but it feels like a world apart as they struggle to make ends meet.

The Florida Project primarily centers on Brooklyn Prince’s Moonee, whose innocent, imaginative, and childish delight lifts her beyond her difficult circumstances even as her mother turns to increasingly desperate measures, such as prostitution, to make ends meet.

Florida Project
The Florida Project’s realities are stunning.

Was The Florida Project’s Ending Real?

While many praised The Florida Project’s conclusion as one of the best film conclusions of the decade, viewers were divided over whether Moonee’s imagined final events were real or not.

After all, it would take a lot of time for two six-year-olds to travel from Kissimmee to Disney World, and it would be nearly impossible for them to sneak past the theme park’s security unnoticed.

The Florida Project’s director, Sean Baker, claims that the resolution is intended to be interpreted in a variety of ways.

“Now we’re telling the audience that this might not be real, but perhaps [it’s] the audience’s moment to use Moonee’s sense of imagination and wonderment to make the best of what might not be a happy ending,” explained Baker in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Brooklynn Prince
Brooklynn Prince

What happened to Moonee at the end of the Florida Project?

At the end of The Florida Project, Halley draws the attention of the Florida Department of Children and Families, who send Moonee into foster care after showing up at the Magic Castle motel with a few police officers in tow.

Moonee, the main character of The Florida Project, makes it past the DCF employees and arrives at Jancey’s motel in tears.

Together, they dash out of their old world and past the dilapidated motels and cheap outlet shops along Kissimmee’s tourist strip.

Flying past the ticket booths and dodging the crowds, the two make their way down to Disney World. In the last scene of The Florida Project, Moonee and Jancey run down Main Street in Magic Kingdom hand in hand before reaching Disney’s Cinderella Castle, which is a drastically different castle from the one Moonee grew up in.

Bobby Called DCF About Moonee

It’s never made clear who made the ultimate decision when DCF shows up to the Magic Castle motel in the conclusion of The Florida Project.

Viewers are made to assume that Ashley, the neighbor Halley beat up in the end, was the one responsible.

But Bobby is most likely the one who is at fault. Ashley was understandably resentful of Halley’s treatment of her, but it is absurd that she would go to such lengths as to report her neighbor to the police.

The role of babysitter is being filled by Willem Dafoe’s character Bobby, as Scooty, Jacey, and Moonee’s parents are conspicuously missing.

The stern but kind motel manager goes above and beyond to protect the children under its care, even frightening off a would-be pedophile.

Bobby was obviously worried about Moonee’s safety because of the kids setting the old condos on fire and the man from whom Halley had stolen Disney tickets. So he probably made the crucial phone call.

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