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Princess Ka'iulani (2009)

tomatometer

18

Average Rating: 4.5/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 31

A middling biopic about an important figure in Hawaiian history, Princes Kaiulani looks and feels like a TV movie of the week and offers about as much insight.

0

Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 14

A middling biopic about an important figure in Hawaiian history, Princes Kaiulani looks and feels like a TV movie of the week and offers about as much insight.

audience

44

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 1,047

My Rating

Movie Info

The incredible true story of Hawaiian princess Ka'iulani (Q'orianka Kilcher) comes to the screen in this historical drama from first time writer/director Marc Forby. The year is 1888; a rebel alliance with connections to the American government has succeeded in destabilizing Hawaii. When the fight comes to the royal palace, 13-year-old heir to the throne Princess Ka'iulani is spirited away to Victorian England -- where her royalty holds no bearing on her social standing. As Princess Ka'iulani

PG,

Art House & International, Drama

Sep 14, 2010

$0.9M

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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (31) | DVD (1)

There are too many swooping violins, too many trite generalizations, too few moments that throw a light on history and turn it into art.

August 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As the doomed princess, Q'orianka Kilcher ... has imperially striking features but limited acting skills.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An uneven film that, by trying to satisfy parents with political drama and older children with a love story, leaves both parties wanting.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Watching Princess Kaiulani, you're not sure whether to weep for the title character or the actress playing her.

May 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Kilcher is lovely. But sadly, Ka'iulani is a perfunctory biopic of the sort one might encounter on television during Women's History Month.

May 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its story plays like a Hawaiian heritage lesson filtered through the melodramatic artifice of an old Hollywood costume drama.

May 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's little passion, damn little fire in the belly, and what there is is wasted on a pleasant romance conjured up by the script, aimed at the My Little Pony market.

July 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

After watching Princess Ka'iulani, we can barely say we learned much about this historical figure, nor even much of the history of the time.

December 1, 2010 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Looking more like a Hallmark Movie-of-the-Week and reading like a CliffNotes summary of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 1890s, the $9-million historical romance Princess Kaiulani won't raise any eyebrows or ruffle feathers...

October 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Free of insight and depth, leaving us with little sense of the weight of her accomplishments.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Less biography than hagiography, and more suitable to cable TV than theatres.

June 10, 2010 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion | Comment (1)
One Guy's Opinion

[Writer-director] Mark Forby tempts us with a little known history lesson of Hawaii but, instead, gives us a generic girl-power teen chick flick. That is not what I want to see.

June 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

This absolutely fascinating true story is a rich, romantic and captivating movie experience.

June 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Back Stage
Back Stage

This effortlessly evocative, endlessly ennui-inducing paean to Hawaii's final princess is, ultimately, a dull, Upstairs Downstairs affair.

June 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Historically fanciful and dramatically doltish.

May 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

It contains the kind of stultifying, anything-to-avoid-offence approach one usually only finds in biopics of dead saints or live dictators.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comment (1)
eFilmCritic.com

The production values are exquisite, (the) attention to detail admirable.

May 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Hollywood News
Hollywood News

Lacking a sense of historical and personal context.

May 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Mark Reviews Movies
Mark Reviews Movies

It's all soap-opera histrionics and historical hash, and the writing is the culprit.

May 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

... half stodgy educational docudrama and half harlequin romance.

May 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for Princess Ka'iulani

I never turn off a movie, and I turned this one off. The first half-hour was excruciating, cramming all kinds of backstory into some of the deadest dialogue I've ever heard, and I just couldn't get past it. [Rating on full viewing pending... unlikely to ever be achieved.]
November 18, 2013
danperry17

Super Reviewer

A great film telling you the history of Hawaii. This film brought to light much of what I have never known. And like the natives of America, the natives of Hawaii succumbed to greed and white rule. Ensure that you read post subtitles telling you what happen to the princess. This is well worth the watch on one of those alone nights when your not sure of the mood your in or what you want to watch. 4 stars
April 8, 2011
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Any movie that helps educate folks about the overthrow of Hawai'i is useful. The production values are good, as is the acting. But it devotes far too little time to the political and social upheavals of the times, and far too much to a love story that has questionable historical accuracy; even if it had happened that way, there's no good reason to make a movie about it. The documentary special feature tacked on is more accurate and more interesting.
December 4, 2010
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

historical turn that feels like a dreary lifetime special about an actually important bit of american history - the takeover of hawaii. i wanted this one to work ... but no.
June 20, 2010
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Princess Kaiulani (DE)
  • Princess Kaiulani (UK)
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