release date: 28 May 2015 (Canada)
run time: 105 mins
considered: Comedy, Drama, Romance
director: Cameron Crowe
starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin, Bill Camp, Jaeden Lieberher, Danielle Rose Russell, Michael Chernus, Edi Gathegi, Dennis Bumpy Kanahele, Elizabeth Marvel, Ivana Milicevic
movie summary: A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and re-connects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watchdog assigned to him. (www.imdb.com)
my thoughts: Taylor Swift reminded us that no matter how popular or unpopular you are, haters are gonna hate. If you browse for Aloha reviews online you may run into a gauntlet negative reviews that would make you think this was the worse movies of the year. I personally don’t care what other people think about this movie, because there is no way a movie that had me holding back tears for the final 30 minutes would suck. Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, and Alec Baldwin are stars with hundreds of movie titles and characters under their belt. Combined these talented people play a bunch of dysfunctional characters in a very dysfunctional movie about second chances, making mistakes, and finding or creating the opportunity to fix them.
The story really focuses on Cooper’s character Brian Gilcrest, whose whole life has been about work and the destruction he usually leaves behind when he moves for a new job. To describe his situation as a train wreck would be an understatement, but despite all his shortcomings his old boss Carson Welch (Murray) wants to employ his skills in his old stumping grounds – Hawaii. Everything seems to be perfect until he gets teamed up with a firecracker chaperon, officer Allison Ng (Stone), and a chance run in with his ex-girlfriend Tracy Woodside (McAdams). I actually loved Emma Stone in her role because her numerous facial expressions and dramatics really fit the character she was portraying. She has a spark to her personality that really lights up the room and the people around her. After hours and days of prying to open up Brian, she’ll try show him that it is okay to have feelings again and let loose. She knows there’s an amazing guy in Brian, but years and years of problems has all but killed him inside. A few people think that Stone was a total disaster in her role, but I don’t Cooper could have pulled off his role without her by his side.
McAdams on the other hand may be the third wheel in this story since she is the past and not really the present. Thankfully she is not his current love interest which adds a different angle to the love triangle you would expect in such a film. Her husband John “Woody” Woodside is played by Krasinski, who brings all the laughs to this story. His no speak, but say many things in silence, is perfect for the story. If you’ve seen the trailer, you already know what I’m talking about. When he finally has a heart to heart with Brain towards the end, I couldn’t stop laughing. It really was the perfect ending to their part of the story.
Sadly for those of you who were expecting a lot of Murray, McBride, and Baldwin, be prepared for a let down because they are really fringe characters to our core four. The fun part about their lack of screen time is how impactful the trio are when they finally make appearances. There may be a few out there who complain that there are too many characters to tell a simple story, but that’s the direction Cameron Crowe decided to go and we have to respect that. No movie is perfect, no character is perfect, and the touching part of this story is how real everyone comes across.
These characters are all down to earth, filled with realistic emotions and flaws. As someone who loves a good heartfelt story, I really connected with Brain, Allison, and Tracy and the heartbreak they have been though. I didn’t fall in love with the story of the hot-shot contract worker who is employed by a billionaire, I fell for our three main stars who really put a lot of heart into their characters. I seriously had tears in my eyes when secrets got revealed, hearts got broken, hearts got mended, and second chances were rewarded. Each character gets a chance to be happy in the end and that really is the whole point of this story and life. It reminds us to take a minute to look up at the stars and appreciate how wonderful life can be.
my final thoughts: I got to say from the first day I saw the trailer for Aloha, I circled the release date on my calendar. This film got an early release on Thursday night and I left work early to catch the first showing. My hopes were so high and I was rewarded with a movie that had me laughing and fighting back the tears. Aloha may not work for everyone or anyone. You’re welcome to take my advice or hate me for recommending it, but I loved this movie and would like to watch it again.
my star rating: 9 out 10
imdb: 5.2 out 10
rottentomatoes: 17% out 100%
roger ebert: 1.5 out 4
richard crouse: 2 out 5