Hula Girls

2007-11-19 18:10
 
What it's about:

It's 1965 and the town of Joban has fallen on hard times. The coal that's been the town's lifeblood is no longer in high demand and factory owners begin announcing lay-offs. A new plan to revive the town comes in the form of a Hawaiian center, which is to be a tourist attraction. The key to the center's success is, of course, the hula dance. But the residents are resentful and highly skeptical. Only an idiot would think palm trees and tropical paradises can exist in Joban.

What we thought of it:

Hula Girls definitely isn't the cream of the Japanese movie crop. It's ridiculously predictable, standard and melodramatic at times, and is one of those films you forget as soon as the credits roll. But even though it is shamelessly clichéd, Hula Girls offers warm and fuzzy moments and the colorful characters add much needed humor, making it bearable.

We all love a time-old story-line with a universal message, so long as it has flair, a stellar cast, humor, stunts, music, dance or any of those other Hollywood gimmicks we've grown accustomed to. But there's none of that here. Hula Girls is a raw, straight forward slice of life flick.

Hirayima (Yasuko Matsuyuki) at first looks down on the girls with disdain, but the classy and arrogant instructor from Tokyo bands together with the country bumpkins as they are challenged by the tradition of the older townsfolk. Tension between the elders who see the new provocative dance as offensive and the young girls who see it as something fun and exciting, makes for interesting drama. And the young dancers work their tails off to prove they can successfully pull it off.

Movie highlight: when the bright-eyed Senae (Eri Tokunaga), her undecided best friend Kimiko (Yû Aoi) and one rather large girl (who looks as if she could play a forward for the Springboks) finally learn to shake their booties on stage.

Nearing the end, Hula Girls is emotionally gripping as you finally get to see them in action. The hula girls shake their tails and feathers to pretty slick dance moves as the film ends on a dramatically high note: vibrant colours, beautiful music and heart-warming moments. You might just shed a tear or two.

- Gugu Mkhabela
Based on a true story about coal miners' daughters who take a once-in-a-lifetime chance to escape their monotonous lives, only to become unwitting heroes in their depressed mining town and Japan.

Tenille 2007/10/26 7:01 PM
Belly dancers to watch Hula girls I'm taking a group of my belly dance students to see this... I'm sure it will be just up our alley...
Tenille 2007/10/26 7:01 PM
Belly dancers to watch Hula girls I'm taking a group of my Feminine Divine belly dance students to see this... I'm sure it will be just up our alley...
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