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Princess Kaiulani

444 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Q'orianka Kilcher (The New World) stars as Princess Ka'iulani, the bright and beautiful heir to the Hawaiian throne in this epic true story. Following an idyllic childhood in Honolulu, the willful teenage princess is sent to Britain to receive an educatio

Princess Kaiulani is a moving film that's part romantic epic, part historical period piece. But mostly it's a portrait of how a frightened young girl grew into an extraordinary woman. The film begins in 1889, when civil unrest unseated Hawaii's royal family and the Hawaiian people began a struggle to maintain their independence and right of self-governance, and when the 13-year-old princess Ka'iulani (Q'orianka Kilcher), who was next in line for the Hawaiian throne, was exiled to England to ensure her safety. Shot on location in both England and Hawaii by indie director Marc Forby, this breathtakingly beautiful film follows Ka'iulani as she is plopped down in a foreign world that looks upon Hawaiians as barbarians and where her royal heritage counts for virtually nothing. Princess Ka'iulani, or "Victoria," as the English often call her, endures harsh treatment at the hands of both teachers and students at boarding school, but she refuses to crumble, carrying on with a strength and quiet resolve that's powerfully portrayed by Kilcher. As Ka'iulani matures, she falls in love with Englishman Clive Davies (Shaun Evans) and becomes engaged. Just as Ka'iulani's happiness seems assured, her father visits her in England, bringing with him serious news: her uncle, King Kalakaua (Ocean Kaowili), has died unexpectedly after having been forced to adopt a constitution in conflict with the best interests of the Hawaiian people, and Ka'iulani's aunt Liliu'okalani (Leo Anderson Akana), who ascended to the throne, has subsequently been put under house arrest and removed from power. Incensed by the grave injustices inflicted upon her people, Princess Ka'iulani is propelled by her inherent sense of duty to sacrifice her own potential happiness. She journeys first to America, where she eloquently pleads with outgoing president Grover Cleveland for his help, and later to Hawaii, where she fights for her people's rights in person. Princess Kaiulani is a powerful film, and what comes across so strongly is not just the often-overlooked perspective of the native Hawaiian people regarding America's annexation of Hawaii and the cultural consequences of that annexation, but the truly heroic acts of Hawaii's extraordinary Princess Ka'iulani. --Tami Horiuchi

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Q'orianka Kilcher, Barry Pepper
  • Directors: Marc Forby
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Roadside Attractions
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (444 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,708 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Princess Kaiulani" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By AlohaCrystal on July 15, 2010
Format: DVD
I'm happy that someone did take the inspired action to make a movie about Hawai'i, that isn't all about the sexy hula girls and mai tai's. This movie has meat to it. The reason I say this is a must see movie for Hawaiians and Hawaiians at heart is that it makes you think. It makes you want to read and research your Hawaiian geneaology and Hawaiian history. The movie makes you to want to learn the TRUTH! As Hawaiians we must unite to move forward, we must educate our children like our ancestors did. We had a 90 percent literacy rate in the 1800's and early 1900's, our ancestors would be ashamed of us wasting our intelligence and not cultivating our youth to learn. I'm saying this to all people, educate your children!

The movie was very moving, a love story, with a beginning, middle and end. When we describe love, we tend to look at just the best parts and skip the ugly. Although the movie wasn't completely factual, it was a good depiction of how the time was and the politics of the day. How can you summize a person's life in 120 minutes? It's just a brief moment in time that is covered. Some of the facts were missing in the story, she did die on the Big Island and maybe that should have been shown, but there was enough sadness that we all know and understand.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Solmerin on July 15, 2010
Format: DVD
There are so many wonderful things to say about the movie; its production; the period costumes; the actors...

What I appreciated most was hearing the Hawaiian language spoken so beautifully and seeing King Kalakaua portrayed onscreen. I was engaged and intrigued from the moment the movie started. I plan on watching it over and over and over again. When my daughter is old enough to understand the story, we will watch it together over and over and over again.

Don't miss this documentation of American history that Americans seldom discuss.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Roy J. Tjioe on June 28, 2010
Format: DVD
The DVD includes a documentary entitled "Ka`iulani: Crown Princess of Hawai`i", which combines research, interviews with some of the film's cultural advisors, clips from the film, and many rare historical photographs specially restored for this program, to tell the true story of Princess Ka`iulani. The documentary covers Princess Ka`iulani's childhood, family, education in England, her brave fight to save the Monarchy of Hawai`i from overthrow by the U.S. government, her suitors, and her untimely passing. The documentary is intended as a factual, historical companion to the events dramatized in the film. It is a must-see.

The DVD also includes a featurette entitled "Princess Ka`iulani: Behind the Scenes", which includes interviews with cast members and filmmakers that provides a fascinating insight into the making of this important film: The first to showcase the Hawaiian Monarchy and the language of Hawai`i. In addition to the production of the film, the featurette explores the music behind the film, the unprecedented opportunity to film inside `Iolani Palace, and the challenges of balancing history and drama while maintaining respect for the culture of Hawai`i.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By ARH TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 6, 2011
Format: DVD
The movie "Princess Kaiulani" could have been "The" movie portraying the critical moment in history when the Hawaiian kingdom died/was stolen, but, alas, it turned out instead to be a rather lightweight and somewhat lame glimpse into the life and times of Hawaii's last princess.

Don't get me wrong, Princess Kaiulani played an extremely important role in helping to secure full rights for her people when the island kingdom of Hawaii was overwhelmed by American interests and military intervention. She is a beloved part of Hawaiian's just that I wish the producers and director of this film had focused on that instead of on a seemingly endless series of prologned Victorian-era make-out scenes between the princess and a young British man.

There was only passing mention of the conspiring American land owners who brought about the downfall of the last King and Queen of Hawaii, decisions made to send US troops to the islands to "protect American lives and interests", and backroom dealings made to try to subjugate the Hawaiian people to a 2nd or 3rd class citizen status. Those deplorable dealings should have been the focus of the film. I would also like to have seen more of the native Hawaiian's efforts to retain their land and country, even in the face of overwhelming military superiority by US forces.

I have to admit that the one thing that this movie did inspire in me was a desire to learn more about the history of Hawaii, mainly because so little was actually outlined and focused on in this film.

All in all the movie was OK, but I have no need to see it again.

Just a so-so effort...3-stars.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Puamohala on July 15, 2010
Format: DVD
Aloha kakou!

I'm an amateur historian living in Hawai'i with an interest in the latter years of the Hawaiian Monarchy - and primarily the life of Princess Ka'iulani. I was so happy to hear about a film version of her life being made and in such a way that would bring dignity and insight into her life and times.

I've seen the film 3 times so far - I love it! This film did not have a huge budget to work with, but I think they did a wonderful job with the funds that they did have.
I also think the casting is excellent - Q'orianka Kilcher has a quiet dignity and humility that I think brings the Princess to life - and while not kanaka ma'oli (Native Hawaiian), she was brought up in Hawai'i early in her life, so she has some background here. She does an excellent job playing the young princess from about age 13 up to her early 20's - showing her maturing thru hardship and the tragedy of the illegal Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The latter scenes in the film especially are powerful as they show her growing and becoming politically aware of the situation and doing what she can to stop the U.S. government from taking over her Kingdom.

The facts of the Overthrow are here in this film - are they all timeline correct and everything historically accurate to a "t"? No - but the big picture of the Overthrow is there and this film is meant to go to a wide audience and show what happened here and who these people were - it hopefully would give a "kick start" to someone who is truly interested into going farther into their research and reading about this turbulent and controversial part of Hawai'i's history.
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