Aloha tries present a complex story dealing with new love, and one which was abandoned; Hawaii’s culture; and a chance at redemption which may leave a person’s morality in flux. All of which isn’t honestly handled the best way, but it does end with giving you a few nice fuzzy feelings.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
It has been 13 years since Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) has step foot on Hawaiian soil. The reason being, well his dream was deferred and he has been doing anything he had to in order to survive and make it. This has included becoming a contractor, cheating his employer Carson Welch (Bill Murray), and pretty much avoiding anything which could possibly be long term.
However, with his return to Hawaii comes him being coerced, partly by nostalgia, and a strong grip, to confront his past in more ways than one. With Tracy (Rachel McAdams) he is forced to confront the woman he left behind and broke the heart of, and with Allison Ng (Emma Stone) he is forced to confront the kid who was bewildered by the stars who he has long since gave up on.
Leaving you to wonder who will Gilcrest try to redeem himself in the eyes of? The man who he cheated out of money, and who left him for dead; the woman whose heart he broke; the girl who sees something in him, that he once saw in himself; or will his road to redemption only be a ruse just so he gets what he wants in the long run?
To begin, honestly who could be better paired than Cooper and Stone? For with Stone’s big eyes, and Cooper having the type of look and persona of a work in progress that you can’t help but want to invest in, it was hard to not hope these two would end up together. Yet, thanks to McAdams, you are presented the feeling of being torn. For based off of Tracy’s story, and her marriage to Woody (John Krasinski), a part of you almost wants to root for those two to get together. Which I thought was a nice conflict for it often seems destined for him to end up for one of the two, and both present excellent cases. Plus, considering the conflict he has, or in Allison’s case develops, it further leads you to wonder if the movie may end up with the predictable choice or make things a little bit more complicated.
Love triangles aside, I quite like how, even if it was in a slightly shallow way, the movie talked about Hawaii as more than some sunny, tropical paradise, but spoke of it as a place with its own history and culture. For whether it was Tracy’s son Mitchell (Jaeden Lieberher) speaking on the various legends dealing with Hawaiian gods, or with an Hawaiian king speaking about how Hawaii is more so military occupied than anything else, it presented a rare look on Hawaii. Especially the parts dealing with Brian and Ag and their different takes on Hawaiian culture, as well as the deals Brian was making with the king.
The last thing worth noting is, as convoluted as this film sometimes does feel, if you give it patience, you’ll find its heart. For whether it is realizing Woody relies on Tracy to keep him sane, and for some sense of normalcy, or how Allison, if not Tracy, could possibly be Brian’s last chance at redeeming himself, you’ll find those, among many other, moments which may get you a little teary eyed.
As I look at IMDB and see this movie was 105 minutes, I honestly am shocked for it seemed longer. For with the story covering Brian trying to get back in Carson’s good graces, us learning about his relationship with Tracy, and seeing one bloom with Allison, alongside the touching on Hawaiian culture, the film seems like a bunch of movie ideas mushed into one film. Thus making it so that as much as director/ writer Cameron Crowe might have wanted to presented Brian as someone who lived a full life, you are ultimately left feeling like you only given just enough to put the pieces together.
For example, being that him and Tracy haven’t seen each other in 13 years, share a child, which is so obvious but is treated like a secret, and they ended in perhaps the worse way possible, honestly there was enough baggage there for its own movie. The same thing goes for his relationship with Allison. She helps him rediscover the kid who became jaded once he had to go from working for the government to becoming a contractor who, seemingly, was just about the bottom-line and how much money he could make. Then, with the plot dealing with Hawaiian culture, from the story of “The Arrival,” the complex relationship between native Hawaiians and the American government, and a slew of other things which could have been addressed, again there is a ripe plot, probably not explored that often which, like the rest of the plots, you are only given just enough to be content but never satisfied.
Overall: TV Viewing
I genuinely like this film, especially due to Stone, Cooper, and what Krasinski’s character contributes, but it also is very frustrating. For considering Brian missed out in raising his daughter, and the movie ends with her finding out he is her dad, there is so much lost out on. Then when it comes to the Hawaiian culture storyline, it pretty much is the only thing which didn’t make Cooper’s storyline dealing with Carson from seeming like an action movie which lost its special effects budget. Lastly, as much as Cooper and Stone made a wonderful pairing, it really became hard to invest in them when Tracy is actively competing for focus.
Hence the TV Viewing label. For while each plot on its own has potential, when mashed together the film gives what I can only describe is a visual equivalent of what too many cooks in the kitchen looks like.
Things To Note
Emma Stone, as cute and lovable as she and her character is, honestly it was hard to say if she was over selling, or over acting. For while Ng seems like a sweet girl, at times, despite the accolades we are told about her, she seems almost like a blank slate. Like, she pretty much is supposed to represent to Brian when he was younger and saw opportunity, and her sole purpose is to remind him of the person he was and could return to being. Which is all done with coming off as awkward as she does in the trailer.
When it comes to Brian revealing to Grace (Danielle Rose Russell) he is her father, it is done in a slightly creepy way. To explain, in the film Woody and Brian mostly speak through body language, and the film comically plays on this with subtitles, and while it works for them, because of Woody I guess supposing to represent some sort of classic man, it comes off weird for Grace and Brian. This is due to, for most of the movie, him not saying much more than hi and bye, yet spending some time with Mitchell. So with him showing up to her dance class, watching in the window at her like a perv, as much as it got me teary eyed when she realized, at the same time I feel like him just staring was a serious creeper move.
“You’ve sold yourself so many times [that] no one is buying anymore.”
“Nothing beats fun than purpose.”