The animated film ‘Lilo and Stitch’ introduced the world to the Hawaiian word ‘Ohana’ in 2002. There’s a beautiful quote from the film that explains its meaning – “Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten”. While there are no extra-terrestrial beings in the 2021 Netflix film “Finding Ohana”, there are some supernatural elements and familial bond is a dominant theme.
Directed by Jude Weng, “Finding Ohana” follows the story of two siblings Pili & Ioane, who have been raised in New York, but find themselves spending the summer in Hawaii with their grandfather. Pili finds a journal that talks of a hidden treasure & the girl is convinced of its existence. What follows is an adventure which is very reminiscent of the classic film ‘The Goonies’, but with some Hawaiian cultural twists.
The cinematography is done well and some of the beach scenes are breathtaking, it makes the viewer want to pack their bags and fly away to Hawaii. The writers weave in a lot of cultural elements native to Hawaii, along with some interesting myths, that make this typical adventure tale more interesting than it otherwise would’ve been. Actor Branscombe Richmond who plays the grandfather looked like he was straight out of Moana, the popular disney movie.
Actor Kea Peahu is adorable as the fiesty Pili who loves adventures. The sibling rivalry between Pili and Ioane makes for some fun comic scenes. Even though it’s quite predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the film and think it makes for a great pick to watch with the entire family on a nice lazy Sunday evening. I could try spend more time thinking about it to analyse the film and pick out some critical points, but I prefer my reviews to be about my immediate movie-watching experience. So yeah, it’s a fun film and worth a one-time-watch. It’s a 7/10 from me.
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