It’d been far too long since I’d seen something on that big-screen that can only be experienced at the theater. This is why, on a whim, my mom and I went to go see Aloha. (Well that, plus the fact that we both like Bradley Cooper.) What happens from that spur-of-the-moment decision was a fun little trip over the Pacific Ocean.
Aloha (2015) Film Review
For Brian Gilcrest (Cooper), life hasn’t gone exactly as planned. Once part of the military ranks, Brian retires from his duties in order to become a private military contractor. His promising career is cut short when he suffers an injury that nearly kills him. Now suffering from nothing worse than a lingering limp, Brian returns to Hawaii for his chance at redemption, and possibly a return to his career in the private sector. While there he reconnects with his old girlfriend, Tracy (Rachel McAdams). Tracy is now married with a family, but she has secrets, and now she needs to tell someone. Then there is Alison Ng (Emma Stone), a promising young military pilot assigned as Brian’s liaison during negotiations.
With of the complications that arise, Brian must face his past and discovers that more than his career may be on the line…
Movies like Jerry McGuire and later, Almost Famous is on director (and writer) Cameron Crowe’s resume. I’ve not seen either of them but do enjoy his more recent directorial effort, We Bought a Zoo. When I saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked like a decent little movie that, if not award-winning, would be entertaining at the least. That is exactly what Aloha is. Maybe it’s because I love the cast or perhaps it’s the setting, whatever, the whimsical nature of this film works really well. Especially if I’m looking for something that doesn’t fit into the traditional box labeled with a specific genre.
This film is pretty much excoriated by critics across the board, plus stirs controversy with a character. Emma Stone plays a ¼ Hawaiian (which is a running joke in the script). Outrage that a blonde-haired actress was cast versus’ someone believable to have some Hawaiian heritage causes outrage. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me in the least. But then I go to this expecting nothing but a good time and that’s what I find. The scenery is naturally gorgeous and the camera showcases this it as does the story, which compliments (in my opinion) the Hawaiian Islands. I love the natural beauty, and the places we go because of that.
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This leads me to the cast. Emma Stone is a favorite ever since the Spider-Man re-boot movies and of course, Rachel McAdams is a favorite too. Both ladies are fantastic, and I especially like Emma’s scene with Bradley (nearer the end. Then there is Bradley Cooper. He too is a great asset to the movie and can do comedic as well as he can do serious – something I suspect he will be in more high demand for given the success of his role in American Sniper. Also a fun edition to the cast is John Karanski. His character is hilarious in an unexpected kind of way. The script does some unique things and because of this, the movie won’t be for everyone. In terms of production, this uses interesting silences, and conversations with subtitle (which is amusing) that works well with the movie because of the set up.
If there is a flaw, it’s the camera work. Occasionally the staging is odd; sometimes the camera jerks around to give us a view through a character’s eyes. When it comes right down to it, I really liked this film. The laughs are frequent and though it’s more comedy than romance, it’s a darn entertaining movie. Brian learns valuable lessons and “grows up” in ways he might not have recognized. The end isn’t the most traditional either, but for me, it’s somehow the right ending with a really beautiful emotional pull. Those of you looking for something different than the traditional summer box office film might enjoy this breath of fresh air. It was worth the ticket price.
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You can find Aloha digitally on Amazon Video
Content: there is one f-word and a few other scattered profanities. One couple is in bed together, covered by the blankets as they talk. There may be a few other suggestive innuendos. The film is PG13.