“Finding ‘Ohana” Has It All


Saahithi Gaddipati, Staff Writer

After its initial release on Jan. 29, “Finding ‘Ohana” has unsurprisingly risen into the top 10 Netflix films. The combination of drama and adventure helped it appeal to a wide variety of people. In its roots, “Finding ‘Ohana” is a story about rediscovering familial bonds, but it contains just enough adventure to get people who cannot sit through dramatic, feel-good shows to be engaged with the storyline. This was certainly the case in my household, since we all have different movie preferences, yet all enjoyed “Finding ‘Ohana.” 

“Finding ‘Ohana” follows protagonist Pili and her brother Ioane, as they head out to Hawaii after their grandfather has a heart attack. About an hour after arrival, Pili decides to snoop through her grandfather’s trailers, discovering a journal that belonged to Monks, a sailor on the Peruvian, depicting his adventures through time. Later on, Pili and Ioane find that their mother plans to sell their house in Brooklyn so that their grandfather can afford to pay the past five years of house bills. Pili decides to take action and find this fabled treasure, leaving a worried (and furious) Ioane to trace her steps. Meanwhile, their mother struggles to rebuild the bond between her father and her after leaving Hawaii for 10 years. This tale of drama, adventure and friendship appeals to all ages, showcasing friendship and the Hawaiian culture.

 Through the viewpoint of Pili and Ionae, who are two strangers of the Hawaiian culture, we begin to absorb the culture and language of Hawaii as they explore the land. The value of family is a point driven throughout the movie, from why they moved to Hawaii to the geocaching adventure Pili embarks on. However, more spiritual beliefs, such as night marchers – apparitions whose deadly appearance is preceded by drums, are explained as well. While Hawaiian culture is too big to be shown in one movie, “Finding ‘Ohana” does a wonderful job at providing insight into beliefs. 

One of the things that really draws the viewer in are the character interactions, which are hilariously accurate. The sibling arguments between Pili and Ioane and the parent intervention are depicted in a slightly exaggerated manner while maintaining a realistic aspect towards it. When Pili and Ioane argue over the internet connection, and are told to apologize, we see them sarcastically listing all of their misdeeds, eventually finding nothing else and stomping apart in opposite directions, a situation all too familiar to siblings. 

Regardless of what genre of movies you prefer, the hilariously accurate “Finding ‘Ohana” provides insight into Hawaiian culture and will entertain the viewer throughout its duration.