Film Review 26: Hula Girls フラガール

Hula Girls

Hula Girls may be something new to the people of Iwaki, Japan in 1965 but the movie is something we’ve seen before. As a movie with an overuse theme, it has its bad and good.

If you’ve seen other Japanese films such as Swing Girls or Waterboys, you would know what to expect for Hula Girls. I’m not trying to be a spoiler but you can pretty much tell it’s going to be a triumphant ending for the girls, especially knowing that the movie is loosely based on a real event. It is a story about a group of coalminers’ daughters who try to save their town by hula dancing much to the people’s objections.

It’s quite tricky to evaluate this movie. I enjoyed watching it but I didn’t feel anything after it ended. It was like hearing a familiar melody in different lyrics. Entertaining but what’s new?

On the good side, if you haven’t been watching too many Japanese movies, Hula Girls should be a pretty good movie. One thing that really works for me is the acting. The main characters, the dance teacher and the determined leader of the pack, played by Yasuko Matsuyuki and Yuu Aoi respectively, are well potrayed. Both ladies appear tough but vulnerable at the same time. There is a strong chemistry between them. In fact I would say all the cast fit perfectly into their roles. As much as I was entertained by the story, I was more drawn by the girls’ likeable characters. The girls are able to stir our emotions. They made me laugh, cry, angry, etc. At the final scene, as the girls gave their best performance, I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They sure deserve standing ovation.

Some might think this movie is too predicatable, some might think it is cliche but I’m sure there are a lot more who’ll delight in it.

Mel says: 7.4/10

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