This blog is about Hawaii's status as an independent country under prolonged illegal occupation by the United States, and the history, culture, law & politics of the islands.

By Scott Crawford, Hana, Maui

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Hawaiian realities reflected in a major motion picture

There are tons of reviews out there for the movie ‘Aloha.’ Whatever else critics may object to, they have mostly positive takes on Bumpy’s role in the film, and how his character (basically playing himself) is treated respectfully, and conveys a genuine voice about Hawaiian issues, history and culture.

But I want to draw your attention to this blog post by Shay Chan Hodges, who brings a somewhat inside perspective on the filming of the movie and the issues it takes on, including the failure of Bank of America to live up to its still outstanding commitments to the Hawaiian people.

Here’s an excerpt, but please read the whole thing.

With Aloha, Cameron Crowe made a heartfelt effort to present a cultural narrative that has not been attempted before in a star-studded Hollywood production. The scenes with Bumpy and other residents of the village are the most authentic depictions of what Hawaii looks like, sounds like, and feels like of any feature film I’ve seen. In a review in The Atlantic entitled, “Aloha‘s Hawaii Shoots for Magic and Realism,” Lenika Cruz writes:

Kanahele speaks on his own turf and in his own words with Gilchrist and Ng about the problems and concerns of native Hawaiians, before inviting them to eat and drink with the rest of the community. It’s a touching, if short-lived, vignette that indisputably stems from genuine reverence and compassion for the people of Hawaii. Besides, when was the last time a major motion picture even glanced at the lives of America’s indigenous people with something other than mockery?

When it comes to cultural sensitivity, Aloha has been criticized for its titlelack of Asian representation, and Emma Stone being cast as a mixed-race character. Yet, the people I sat with in the theater two weeks ago shared the rare experience of seeing their realities reflected in a major motion picture — including ongoing tensions between the struggle for sovereignty and the power of multinational corporations that operate as if they are above the law.

1 comment to Hawaiian realities reflected in a major motion picture

  • Amen, brah. But Emma Stone? Forget the political correctness; it’s bad casting and. She’s too obviously not a believable 1/4 native, and that does detract from the enjoyment of the film.

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