Stacey Bates’s review published on Letterboxd:
Everyone who complained about the "unbearable" characters of 'The Florida Project' has clearly never heard of 'Gummo.'
What you need to know:
- everyone has a terrible haircut
- everyone is overwhelmingly sadistic towards cats
The people who rate this film poorly because the content is upsetting are frankly missing the whole point. I once went on a mission trip back in the day as a youth group teen to Joplin, Missouri. It's another city in the US Midwest that was devastated by a tornado ruled to be equally as damaging as Hurricane Katrina, but there was absolutely no help from FEMA for Joplin's citizens. The intro to 'Gummo,' which explains the half-deserted city occupied only by the remaining poor folk who couldn't afford to leave, is the exact same story as Joplin.
So before you say the cat killing, nipple-taping, racist, incestuous, Godless characters depicted are exaggerations, let me just tell you I met 14 year old prostitutes working in Joplin. I met a single mother who worked part-time at Walmart, and was raising her three daughters in a house that was literally rotting. The stories in 'Gummo' may be tweaked by Korine's tendency to lean toward abstract, arthouse aesthetics, but this is nonetheless a relevant commentary about what US poverty looks like.
Moreover, this enforces my arguments in favor of 'Spring Breakers' and Korine's other works. He's quickly becoming another favorite director of mine.