“It’s not that much magic, just a little bit.”
Please go watch the trailer and the film so the reference makes sense and isn’t nonsensical. Also, this film is a lot of magic. Truly.
New Zealand film Hibiscus & Ruthless, the second project of SQS (Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa) has been out in cinemas since January 25th. And I’m well aware that this review is very late, but y’all should’ve been at the premiere- I guess we all running on island time.
This is SQS’s follow-up to his big hit Three Wise Cousins and I’ve been eager to catch it on the big screen since the trailer popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. Following the life of Hibiscus (Suivai Pilisipi Autagavaia) with her best friend Ruth aka Ruthless (Anna-Maree Thomas), SQS directed a humorous film that evoked nostalgic memories of mum’s lectures, her hidings, the family events- I’ve never related so much with a film until now. Which I believe is one of the greatest things about SQS’s films. They’re a celebration of our culture and our people. He did this with Three Wise Cousins, and did it again with Hibiscus & Ruthless. It’s encouraging to be able to see people like me on screen. It’s uplifting. It’s empowering to have experiences similar to mine (and other Poly’s) on a screen in cinemas, selling tickets and drawing massive amounts of support. Yaaaaassss, I’m proud af.
And it’s the juxtaposition of Hibiscus and Ruthless that drew out my loud as laughs in the middle of The Civic- their friendship is something so familiar, so comfortable and so easy on screen. It made the film so enjoyable because it’s just natural. I’m encouraging everyone to go out and watch this film. Other than being a film that comes through with the laughs, it will appeal to all audiences. Check out the trailer below and my sister’s review- http://spasifikmag.com/hibiscusruthless18/
STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS.
You’ve been warned.
Also from this point, my writing is going to be even more informal and whack so bear with me- or don’t. I don’t care tbh. My review, not yours.
Guys guys guys- I loved this film. I feel like I might’ve liked it a little more than Three Wise Cousins if their soundtrack was as catchy, but for now they’re pretty much on the same level. Both fantastic.
The children who featured in the film were too cute- And kicking off the New Year on the table, making ipu ki’s? Y IS THAT MY LIFE HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA Straight up, I remember being really young and wishing I was a part of a white family so we could watch our money burn and not think twice about it. Is that offensive? Slightly. Weh.
As soon as I saw Hibiscus’ disaster of a date with Mr. I Speak Success (aka Steven), I knew that things were gonna turn to kaka because of drama with a dude. And boy did things go to kaka.
Steven turns out to be a grade A douchebag which sucks because I was rooting for him from the beginning. Heck, I was rooting for him since the trailer. Bible I thought I would just marry him when Hibiscus said her favourite colour was red and he said, “Mine’s blue! Would you like to fight? Ha ha ha ha ha I kid, I kid. Just a bit of street gang humour there.” That line had me crying with laughter. Sorry, my humour is so dry guys.
Then that other dude who isn’t even a potential bae. I feel like he would’ve been the safest option though.
Hibiscus is spending all her fa’alavelave money on dresses for when she’s going on her dates with Anthony. But boy was sooo smooth, with his words and his dancing *fans self* *heart eye emoji* WEH!! When he took off his shirt and the band stopped playing? Had me crying in my seat, for real. Don’t worry Hibiscus, I’d spend all my imaginary money to look good for him, too. Hol’ up while I quickly contact my bank and ask whether I’m eligible for an overdraft HAHAHAHA I kid I kid. No man will ever have that power over me.
Things turned so ugly. They weren’t ready to be together. They were both at different stages in life. Honestly, Hibiscus just needed those experiences because she’d been so sheltered her entire life. Doesn’t it make you think that by sheltering someone so much, your efforts to protect them is for naught because they aren’t prepared for the real world? They haven’t lived or seen enough of the world to know how things work in order to handle it on their own. Not blaming the mother at all for Hibiscus getting hurt, but it’s a teaching moment. The world is hanging and people will always learn from their mistakes. Let them make mistakes. That’s one of the things I felt that the film conveyed.
The whole film is so much deeper than it seems. I had so many questions, like where’s Hibiscus’ dad? OH DAAAAAAANG! While writing this, I just realised how absent male figures were in this film?? The only ones we really looked at were Hibiscus’ potential baes. This film clearly celebrates women, Polynesian women in particular, so maybe they did this so our focus would just be on the women of the film and their lives? SQS, slick af.
Also where does Ruthless live? Especially since my favourite characters were Ruthless and good ol’ G-Ma- I was stuck trying to figure out more of Ruthless’ backstory because she was basically adopted into this small Samoan family, quickly adopting their culture and teachings. I feel as though this small Samoan family shaped her in such a significant way and the moment this really showed, for me, was when Hibiscus went off at her mother and Ruthless was sat at the table. In all honesty, Hibiscus’ meltdown was bound to happen. And so when Ruthless slapped her, I felt that had been because she grew up with them. It was her saying, “Don’t you dare speak to mum like that. Don’t blame anyone else for your mistakes. Don’t wallow in self-pity. You hurt me. Pull yourself together.”
When Hibiscus’ mother (portrayed by Nafanuatele Lafitaga Mafaufau Peters) had her heart to heart with her daughter, I had to blink back tears. It was slightly awkward and stiff, and I’m not sure if it was purposefully done that way, but it was realistic, for me, anyways. In my experience, our Samoan mother’s are headstrong and not overly emotional people (unless it’s anger because they so quick to show you their death stare lol). They don’t show weakness, they don’t coddle or baby us, and they always give it to us straight. And despite talking to her daughter who’s heart’s just been broken, who’s failed her last year of Uni and also let down her best friend, I didn’t feel like Hibiscus’ mother had suddenly become this super duper nice and totally not intimidating and strict parent. She just stopped being so harsh. She was sad about her daughter being sad, and that’s real. I don’t even know if what I just typed up made any sort of sense. Oh well.
This film was some next level stuff, and it really lived up to Three Wise Cousins. I walked out of the theatre trying to plan when I would next watch it. I also walked out and immediately went in search of the cast because I wanted selfies with them. I’m so cool.
Don’t mind the quality, guys. I don’t know how to fix it.