The APAHM Project 2021 Day 30: Finding Ohana
Film: Finding ‘Ohana
Directed by: Jude Weng
Where to Watch: Netflix
Wanna Skip? Pick a Movie from APAHM Project 2020
Why it Made the List:
A family friendly flick starring Pacific Islanders, directed by an Taiwanese-Amercian woman, and written by a Korean-American woman, “Finding Ohana” is a feel-good film to round out The APAHM Project 2021.
“Finding ‘Ohana” is like “The Goonies” mixed with “National Treasure.” The film stars Kea Peahu as Pili, a tomboy geocaching girl from Brooklyn. She, her mother Leilani (Kelly Hu), and brother Ioane (Alex Aiono) must return to Hawaii to take care of their grandfather Kimo (Branscombe Richmond). Pili finds an old book in her grandfather’s things that supposedly leads to a treasure. Using her geocaching skills, the book, and her Spanish-speaking knowledge, she and new friend Casper (Owen Vaccaro) embark on a treasure hunt. Ioane and his new friend Hana (Lindsay Watson) go after the kids and all four of them go to dangerous lengths into a forbidden cave/tomb to find the treasure. Each one overcomes new fears and eventually find the gold, only to be met by night walkers. Leilani and Kimo eventually find out what the kids are after and Leilani rushes to the cave. She protects the children from the night walkers, but in the end the spirit of her late husband protects them all. The family decides to use the money from their Brooklyn apartment to help Kimo in Hawaii and move in with him.
I do not know much about the aloha spirit, but I enjoyed seeing it and the Hawaiian culture through Pili. Pili speaks more Spanish than she does Hawaiian because she says everyone in New York mistakes her for being Puerto Rican. Ioane goes by E instead of his real name because it is too hard for others to pronounce. Leilani has been so far removed from Hawaii that she lost sight of its traditions. All three did not embrace their Hawaiian roots. It was not until they came together as a family (hence Finding ’Ohana) that they also accepted their background. Hana and Casper and Kimo help the family to learn more about Hawaii, their customs, and their land.
My only complaint about this film is that it is definitely intended for a younger audience. A lot of the slang they used will not age well, and therefore I think this film will have a hard time finding an audience in the future. The acting was a bit subpar as well, but most of the main cast were newcomers.
I feel like there isn’t too much to say about this film. It was rather straight forward. But it was exciting to see a new wave of Pacific Islander talent in a Netflix film. The emphasis on culture and family was relatable even though I am not Pacific Islander. Just having some of those common struggles as a minority and being disconnected from your culture was something I was able to understand as well. This is a great film to watch with your kids or family!
Stop Hate and Donate:
**A Reminder! I will be matching donations from this blog post based upon the number of likes it gets! Share this post and tell your friends to like this post!**
Today’s donation link is for Harry’s Liquor and Groceries, an Asian-owned grocery store located in Honolulu, HI. The family has owned the store for 14 years and has been struggling due to Covid-19. Three customers robbed their store and damaged the front door. Other incidents include racial slurs and physical assault from customers.
Donations will go towards repairing the door and loss of product. Click here to donate.
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Moana on Disney +
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