POC I'm Watching: Q'Orianka Kilcher

The real Ka'iulani
POC...this is one of those movies where you'll want to grab a box of tissues and a really strong drink before watching. For many of us, the rarely told story of Hawaii hits very close to home.

For starters, Q'Orianka Kilcher's beginning to grow on me.  I'm admiring her taste in roles.  Her acting in Princess Ka'iulani was quite convincing.  I was quite impressed with her British accent.

There were parts which made me rub my temples, because I could just feel what Ka'iulani was feeling.  Like when her father ships her off to a boarding school (where her royalty is dismissed and the headmistress treats her like a servant girl).  While there, these twins she met in Hawaii send her letters, and one is snatched by some British bitch.  The letter is written in Hawaiian, which the girl obviously can't read, so she asks if Ka'iulani is Irish.  Moments later, still not knowing what a Polynesian is, she calls the princess an "ugly Negro."

Later, as an adult engaged to a British nobleman, Ka'iulani attends a ball hosted by a newly married Duke and Duchess.  The snobby pair watch her enter; the Duchess remarks about her dark complexion and demands to know whether or not the Duke finds her attractive.  He says sure, in a "savage, jungle" way.  When talking to the princess, the Duke asks if she can read and write.  Her fiance states she is fluently bilingual.  The Duchess cracks a joke about how, with her clothes, Ka'iulani could almost pass for a British royal.  Ka'iulani's fiance steps in again, stating that the princess comes from a royal line which extends back some 1500 years.  He then reminds the Duchess that she's only had her title for about a month.

The slow, excruciating annexation of Hawaii is the main point of the film, of course; we see the princess drop everything in England to return home to become a full-time activist, meeting with the press and the president in an attempt to stop the annexation.  Though she charms the public and the president, she's unsuccessful at stopping the fall of her kingdom.  She and her aunt the Queen hold a funeral ceremony for their nation.  Still fighting for her people, Ka'iulani pushes for their right as newly made American citizens to vote.  She succeeds.

The Hawaiians, of course, still crown Ka'iulani as their sovereign with a lei, and sing songs of love and loyalty to her.  Her now ex-fiance returns, but she ends their engagement permanently once he insists she returns to Britain.

Ka'iulani dies a year later after these events at the age of 23.  Her people believe it was due to a broken heart over the loss of her nation.

'Ka'alaka'iopono Faurot as the young princess Ka'iulani.

Kamuela Kalilikane as Mamane.

Kimo Kalilikane as Kamuela.

"Silence, Mr. Thurston!"

Leo Anderson Akana as Queen Liliu'okalani

Q'Orianka, of course.

Funeral for a nation.

Ignoring a drapto.


  1. Yes I saw that line in the trailer and I thought that was damn funny.

    UGH why isn't this movie on netflix.ca godangit! I love this girl. Her and Christian Bale's performance was the best part of the "New World". I just wish that film had been more historically accurate. The real Pochahontas was probably a spy and more badass than she's depicted. Tis true.

    This one looks like it is historically accurate.

  2. This one looks like it is historically accurate.

    In terms of the major events, it seems fairly so. The Hawaiian cast were an utter delight. Their performances were heart-breaking.

    No wonder this movie flew under the radar.

  3. @Student of the World
    You can get it from Netflix. I watched this with my mother. I enjoyed it very much and was pleased that she kept fighting til the very end to help her people. It's heartbreaking the smarminess that America has employed on Nations of Color in it's imperialism.

  4. Netflix Canada doesn't have it :(

  5. Normally, I'm not really big on TV/movies, but the history of Hawaii intrigues me.I think that I will check this film.

  6. I first spotted Q'Orianka Kilcher in "Pocahantas" and she was luminous. She is a very special actress and I will make sure to check this film out.

  7. just watched it for the 6th time and luved it so much. similar reflections to the cook islands situation when annexed to NZ and became the beginning of collapse of our culture and traditions and our Ali'i system.now we are battling over whos who.


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