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Princess Kaiulani (2009)
"Princess Ka'iulani" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  7 July 2012 (Japan)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 1,005 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 13 user | 25 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

The true story of a Hawaiian princess' attempts to maintain the independence of the island against the threat of American colonization.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (additional dialogue)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Jimmy Yuill ...
...
...
...
Miss Barnes / Mrs. Connolly
Leo Anderson Akana ...
Esmond Chung ...
Nahinu
Ocean Kaowili ...
King Kalakaua
Keith Barry ...
U.S. Marine
...
Emma (as Chloe-Charlotte Crampton)
Brian Hayes Currie ...
Morgan (as Brian Currie)
Chandler Gines ...
Hawaiian Girl
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Storyline

Inspired by true events. Princess Ka'iulani is the daughter of a Hawaiian princess and a Scottish businessman. As a teenager, she is sent to England to be educated. But after the death of her uncle King Kalakaua and the accession of her aunt Queen Liliu'okalani, Ka'iulani becomes the next heir to the throne. The possibility of U.S. annexation is looming and the rights of her people are threatened. Ka'iulani is torn between life in England with handsome young suitor Clive Davies or returning to her beloved Hawai'i. Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Her heart was torn between love and the future of Hawaii.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some violence and thematic material, and for brief language, sensuality and smoking | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

7 July 2012 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

After Heaven  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$186,980 (USA) (14 May 2010)

Gross:

$883,887 (USA) (24 September 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ka'iulani means "highest point of heaven" in the Hawaiian language. See more »

Goofs

There is a clear shot of a chameleon walking across the screen. Chameleons are not native to Hawaii and the first ones were introduced in 1972. See more »

Quotes

Princess Ka'iulani: There is no Victoria. There never was!
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Run-of-the-Mill Biopic
1 August 2014 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

This film tells the story of Victoria Cleghorn, aka Princess Ka'iulani, the last heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She was the daughter of a Scottish financier and a Hawaiian princess, and became heiress presumptive to the throne on the death of her uncle King Kalākaua. She never, however, inherited the crown because her aunt, Queen Liliuokalani, provoked the wrath of the kingdom's white minority by attempting to reverse the Bayonet Constitution, which concentrated power in the hands of that minority, and to restore the rights of the native Hawaiians.

This led to the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, and the country's subsequent annexation by the USA, one of the murkier episodes in American history and one which still sometimes causes modern Americans to have a guilty conscience. Admittedly, their treatment of the Hawaiians was no more ruthless than their treatment of various Native American peoples over the previous hundred years or so, but they could always justify their behaviour on the mainland by reference to the "manifest destiny" ideology. Supporting the overthrow of an internationally recognised sovereign government by a racist clique of white businessmen and then annexing the country at the behest of that clique was a bit too close for comfort to the European-style imperialism which many nineteenth-century Americans affected to deplore.

The film tells Kaʻiulani's story from a viewpoint sympathetic to her and to the Hawaiian cause, but was nevertheless controversial in Hawaii, particularly among native Hawaiians. Part of the reason was its original title "Barbarian Princess", which was deemed particularly offensive, even though it was intended in an ironic way to highlight 19th-century American and European prejudices. Also controversial was the fact that the Princess was not played by a Hawaiian actress; Q'orianka Kilcher is of mixed native Peruvian and European descent and (pace Thor Heyerdahl's eccentric theories to the contrary) the Hawaiians and other Polynesian peoples are not Native Americans but originated in Asia. Q'orianka may, however, have won the role because, to judge from photographs, she bears a certain physical resemblance to Kaʻiulani, despite their different ethnic origins.

"Princess Kaʻiulani" is notable as a rare example of a movie which defies normal Hollywood conventions by making the Americans the bad guys and a group of foreigners the good guys; the principal villain is Lorrin Thurston, one of the organisers of the coup which overthrew Liliuokalani and depicted here as an arrogant white racist who despised the Hawaiian people. That apart, however, there is little else which makes the movie stand out from the ordinary. Much of the plot is given over to Kaʻiulani's supposed love affair with a handsome young Englishman named Clive and, apart from being totally fictitious, this development is of little interest compared to the dramatic events which were unfolding in the princess's homeland. None of the acting contributions stand out and, despite its potentially interesting subject, the film rarely rises above the level of a run-of-the-mill biopic.

The film ends with by noting that in 1993, one hundred years after the overthrow of Liliuokalani, President Clinton and the United States Congress apologised to the Hawaiian people for America's role in these events, although they did not, of course, follow up their apology by recognising that the annexation had been illegal under international law and that it was therefore incumbent upon America to restore the independence of Hawaii. Bill Clinton must be kicking himself about that missed opportunity. With one stroke of his pen he could have turned the Hawaii-born Barack Obama into a foreign national, Hillary could have gone on to win the 2008 election and Bill could be back in the White House as America's first First Gentleman. 5/10


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