Year: 2015
Director: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone
Written by Rhys Wortham

The romance genre, at the best of times, adds to other people’s understandings of relationships and, whilst being entertaining. Other times, it just gives a different view point of how people experience love. The entertainment aspect is lacking in ‘Aloha’, ultimately being a rather boring and slow film, but it did have a decent crack at the romance side of things.

‘Aloha’ deals with the failed marriage of a man (Bradley Cooper) who’s struggling with PTSD. The light fallout of this leads to him picking things back up with his ex and just trying to be friends, while moving on. However, certain miscommunications arise and things go a little pear-shaped.

A good bit of the movie is basically just the characters talking about past experiences and how they affect them now. It’s a film which varies the way it impacts the characters, and sadly, with some it seems like it was pointless to mention them at all. Allison Ng (played by Emma Stone) seems like she’s got her shit together more than most, but she tries to keep a distance from everyone because of whatever horrible past experience she’s had. Then a few scenes down she’s frolicking naked with Cooper in a bedroom; so much for that restraint huh? Then there’s Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams) and the struggles with her new husband. They’re more realistic thankfully – it’s just a shame it takes the entire damn movie to come to a resolution – and this a better subplot all in all.

One of the interesting things the film addresses is the “strong silent” archetype that isn’t seen much, like with John ‘Woody’ Woodside (John Krasinski). Usually, writers screw up this character the most. Often it’s some brooding, boring clone of Batman that isn’t all that silent. The only good example I can give is Kevin Smith’s Silent Bob from his zany comedy movies; it’s more of a Marcel Marceau character, without the extravagant facial expressions; it’s all about physical subtleties (i.e. body language) rather than words. Anyway, John Krasinski has a total of three lines throughout the whole film, and does a decent enough job at this role. The script let’s others extrapolate on how they perceive his actions, compared to what they actually mean, which adds to some understanding of people like his character and develops drama without being over the top as we see in most films. I thought this was done really tactfully and I kinda wished it was more central to the film than it was.

Some scenes in ‘Aloha’ did feel contrived though. There was a subplot of a possible nuclear disaster that was short lived and very pointless; nothing more than a distraction from the main romance, and it wasn’t even that dramatic. I mean the film is billed as a romance, and everything else up until “disaster” time comes in at a soothing slow pace. So, it didn’t develop a sense of danger at all, and the whole subplot fell flat on its face. You can’t throw up a big red flag like that and expect people to take it seriously when the characters seem to handle everything with relative ease.

‘Aloha’ doesn’t deserve the hate it received upon release, but it isn’t totally misplaced. While it brings different issues and characters to light, it struggles to do anything different from the usual romance movie formula. It’s the standard “type A male character” is a wreck and “type B female” character comes to help him through his emotional times – with sincerity and sex. So, for some it will be boring and just “another romantic movie”. The internal struggles of Hawaii and its people weren’t that interesting and are covered better in other films. And, final complaint, the subtle drama between characters is convincing enough to not need the background music, which proved to be a little jarring at times.

I’d recommend this if you want to see Emma Stone looking cute, or if you fancy a relaxed love story. Other than that, you can skip ‘Aloha’.

Rhys’ rating: 5.5 out of 10

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