Hula Girls (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hula Girls (2007)

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Hula Girls Photos

Movie Info

As the Korean War draws to a close and the pressing demand for copious amounts of coal takes a sudden plunge, the remote Japanese mining town of Joban attempts to compensate for the devastating economic blow by transforming itself into a lavish Hawaiian retreat in an affectionate comedy inspired by real events and directed by Lee Sang-il. The year s 1965 and the changes that have swept through the outside world are finally reaching Joban. As the mineworkers are laid off and the women of the town take it upon themselves to gently nudge their once-prosperous community from the brink of economic collapse, the ancient Hawaiian art of the hula dance seems to offer the ideal means of doing so. Though highly fashionable Tokyo urbanite Madoka Hirayama (Yasuko Matsuyuki) at first seems terribly out of place when she arrives in Joban to teach local ladies how to saw their hips with authentic grace, her noble efforts soon instill her students with a newfound sense of confidence in both themselves, and their struggling community.

Cast

Yasuko Matsuyuki
as Madoka Hirayama
Etsushi Toyokawa
as Yojiro Tanikawa
Yû Aoi
as Kimiko
Shizuyo Yamazaki
as Sayuri Kumano
Eri Tokunaga
as Sanae Kimura
Ittoku Kishibe
as Norio Yoshimoto
Junko Fuji
as Chiyo Tanikawa
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Critic Reviews for Hula Girls

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (9)

An irresistible Japanese import, Hula Girls is a crowd-pleaser so comfortable with its own clichà (C)s that it goes down smoother than a mai tai on Maui.

September 21, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Director Lee Sang-il employs every possible cliché as he shamelessly tries to manipulate viewers' emotions.

July 13, 2007 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
New York Post
Top Critic

The dance floor is soon covered with syrupy melodrama.

July 13, 2007 | Full Review…
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Slick cinematography makes this bland social comedy always watchable, but the movie has its insipid moments.

July 13, 2007 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Hula Girls is the latest entry in a durable subgenre about marginalized eccentrics who learn a new skill and become better, stronger people.

July 13, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

It's all warm, well-shot, instantly forgettable, and familiar to a fault.

July 10, 2007 | Full Review…
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Hula Girls

I'm amazed that this film is already in the database. While I was watching it, I thought: "Gotta tell flixster to include this one." And here it is. Even if this weren't based on actual events, this movie would be worth watching if you enjoy dance, and especially if you like hula.

The hula revolution is in full swing these days. The last time I checked, there were more than 8,000 hula halau (dance troupes) located throughout Japan. That Japan loves Hawai`i and vice versa is abundantly apparent these days, but this movie is set in 1965-66, when launching your own halau was a bit of a mysterious and perhaps perilous adventure. Surely this group was a pioneering one, and that is a story worth telling.

An added bonus is that the film is scored by Hawai`i ukulele legend Jake Shimabukuro http://jakeshimabukuro.com/ . His soundtrack won the 2007 Japanese Academy Award for Best Sound Recording.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

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