Day 17 was an early showing of the Hawiian period drama Princess Kaiulani (praise be to the early show - time to see a movie, write a post and still have a couple of hours left to the last episode of "Lost" - another production that makes fine use of Hawaii's locations).
I have to admit, while being a full-blooded Samoan born in Oahu, I have a miniscule sense of Hawaiian history. I grew up in Colorado by white people who adopted me, named me Chuck, and then named my blonde-haired sisters Melia and Maile (?)
So watching Kaiulani with my friend Christine (who did grow up in Hawaii a couple blocks off of Kaiulani street), I was hoping to learn something new about my home state. Here's what I took away...
In the 1890s, with the U.S. moving close to annexation and the monarchy on the decline, Princess Kaiulani, who'd relocated to England for several years, took up her homeland's fight to restore the throne.
Despite her youth and inexperience, Kaiulani was a natural for her people, and charmed and impressed President Cleveland and his wife with a combination of beauty, smarts and savvy. Unfortunately, her effort didn't stop eventual annexation, and she died much too young. She won some battles, though, and was adamant that America provide all Hawaiians with the right to vote.
So that was the good part of the movie - the history stuff. The bad part was a tacked-on love story about Kaiulani's romance with a Brit, complete with meet cute bicycles colliding, and dialogue of the "You'll always be in my heart" variety. Lead Q'Orianka Kilcher is strikingly beautiful, but a little out of her element with some of the impassioned pontificating.
If you're a diehard history buff or just curious, seek this out with limited expectations. Better yet - if you have the means - buy the book "Princess Kaiulani: Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People" and a plane ticket to Kauai.