SIFF reviews: Falling, 2 Days in Paris, Hula Girls

Another week, another batch of SIFF movie reviews.

0 stars out of 5 Falling: High school friends reunite at a teacher's funeral. And then go on a road trip, except they give up on their destination and start wandering around. A bunch of stuff happens, none of which seems to make much sense. Like the twelve-year-old Daphne in the film, I felt dragged along on a boring trip against my will. I give it a 0 out of 5. This movie failed even on the linguistic front, since the characters speak Viennese-accented German, which is different enough from Standard German that my ability to follow along was severely impeded.

4.5 stars out of 5 2 Days in Paris: Marion takes her American boyfriend Jack to Paris. He meets her parents (who don't speak English) and her ex-boyfriends (of which there appears to be an endless stream) and brings a decidedly American attitude to the whole affair. The insane family conversations that pass for normalcy are captured perfectly, and watching Jack constantly being shut out of conversations due his inability to speak French only serves to reinforce my phobia of traveling to a country without speaking the language. Hilarious, awkward, touching, it fires on all cylinders. I give it a 4½ out of 5.

4 stars out of 5 Hula Girls: The heartwarming story of a dying coal mining town which reinvents itself as a Hawaiian spa resort. The townsfolk are hostile to the idea, and the Tokyo dancer recruited to train the hula girls thinks the plan is hopeless. The story, based on the real Joban Hawaiian Center (now known as Spa Resort Hawaiians), is predictable and emotionally manipulative, but the ride is enjoyable nonetheless. I was particularly impressed by the dance instructor. Her sense of style always screams "big city", but she overcomes her "I can't believe I'm stuck in this podunk town" and begins to really care for her charges. I give it a 4 out of 5.


5 stars out of 5 Would pay money to see again by myself.
4 stars out of 5 Would see again if it were free or if seeing it with others.
3 stars out of 5 Would recommend to others.
2 stars out of 5 Okay, but wouldn't recommend to someone not already interested.
1 star out of 5 Would advise against.
0 stars out of 5 Waste of my time.

Note: The rating scheme has been revised since this article was originally posted.

Comments (5)
  1. Sohail says:

    How/when did you learn std:;german?

  2. alex.r. says:

    Sohail, I believe Raymond took German lessons some years ago, if you browse through the post archives he mentions it at some point.

    Although they’re always an interesting read, the film suggestions are a lot more valuable than I initially thought they would —  I notice a lot of redundant films between the Seattle FF and the one from my own city taking place later this summer. Thanks for sharing your reviews Raymond!

  3. MadQ says:

    Austrian is quite different from German, though Austrians and Bavarians can generally understand each other (probably as much as they pretend to dislike each other.)

    When Falco said "Dra di net um," it would have been "Dreh dich nicht um" in German. Literally translated, it means "Don’t turn around," but the meaning is more like "Don’t look now."

  4. ´`^¨ says:

    Your ability to follow the movie was impeded because the accent belonged to a country other than Germany, and therefore “This movie failed even on the linguistic front”.

    Remember that.

    When some other computer programmer’s ability to follow a movie is impeded because the accent belongs to a country other than the U.K., it will prove that the movie fails even on the linguistic front.  This will apply to 99% of the movies made in the U.S., will it not?

    [If somebody’s goal is to learn British English, then yes, watching a movie set in Alabama would indeed be a linguistic failure. Not sure what your point is. -Raymond]
  5. 4 accents previously attempted says:

    There’s a big difference between

    . watching being a failure because of mistake by watcher

    , the movie being a failure on the linguistic front

    -> That was my point.

    [It was a failure on the linguistic front because I chose the movie specifically to improve my (standard) German. It failed at that goal. Of course, that was my goal and not the movie’s goal, but it was still a failure. -Raymond]

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