Finding 'Ohana

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Finding 'Ohana Movie Poster Image
 Parents recommendPopular with kids
Fun Hawaii adventure celebrates culture; peril, language.
  • PG
  • 2021
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 35 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Hawaiian concepts of "aloha" (love, peace, compassion) and "ohana" (family) transmit positive values from generation to generation. Boys and girls should treat each other with respect and value individuals' physical and mental abilities regardless of gender.

Positive Role Models

Teens struggle to forge an identity that allows them to blend in with their peers. Pili has learned Spanish because so many people think she's Puerto Rican. She makes jokes about not being "White." Ioane goes by "E" to make his Hawaiian name easier for others to understand. After discovering more of his Hawaiian heritage, he decides to start using his given name. Some traditional gender roles are upended. Pili is brave and strong, likes to outsmart and outrun the boys. Hana won't put up with mean or macho behavior from boys. The spirit of a dead father protects his living wife and kids. Characters show compassion.

Violence

Two teens and two tweens go on a treasure hunt and face a series of dangers: deadly spider bites, lava pits, steep cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, collapsing floors, falling rocks, lethal spirits known as nightmarchers. One teen nearly drowns, requires CPR. Pili and her friends race through traffic and buildings on bikes in geocaching adventure. Grandpa has a heart attack, falls and breaks a rib. Historical re-creations show pirates dueling with swords and knives; skeletons discovered in their place suggest they all perished.

Sex

A teen boy tries to flirt with a girl, is shot down by her, and hears her accept a date with another boy. Eventually they earn each other's trust and kiss. He says another girl promised she'd "make out" with him.

Language

Lots of name-calling and teasing between siblings and teens, including "buttface," "butthead," "butthole" "balls," "tool." Anatomical humor and references include "butt," "poop," "fart," "bits" (for privates), "nips" (for nipples), "bunghole," "turd." Other language: "crap," "suck," "ass," "God," "stupid," "jeez," "hell." Some lines are spoken in Hawaiian and subtitled in English.

Consumerism

Spam, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones, Lost, Juilliard, Keanu Reeves, Adidas, Black Eyed Peas, Meghan Trainor, CrossFit, U.S. Army, Instagram. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Grandpa needs "meds" after a heart attack.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Finding 'Ohana celebrates Hawaiian language and culture in an adventure tale about two siblings discovering their family heritage and forging their own identities. The pair embark on a treasure hunt that sends them and two friends into perilous situations involving venomous spider bites, boiling lava pits, steep cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, collapsing floors, falling rocks, and frightening spirits known as nightmarchers. Perhaps the most intense scene is when a teen nearly drowns and needs CPR. In other sequences, tweens race through city traffic and buildings on bikes in a geocaching race, and an elderly man falls and breaks a rib soon after suffering a heart attack. Historical re-creations show pirates dueling with swords and knives; skeletons discovered in their place suggest they all perished. Expect a bit of sibling quarreling, as well as teen flirtation that ends with a single kiss. The characters show each other compassion in various ways. Language includes name-calling (lots of "butt"-related terms), anatomical humor/references ("balls," "nips" for nipples, "bunghole," "turd," etc.), and other terms like "crap," "suck," "ass," "God," "stupid," "jeez," and "hell."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEmma B. February 14, 2021

Excellent FAMILY Fun Adventure Film

I was looking for a fun family film that was like The Goonies... except not as inappropriate. [Parents who think this films' language is inappropriate need... Continue reading
Adult Written by[email protected] February 13, 2021

Language!!

The story line was great. The emphasis on family was great too-Hawaiians know so much more
The language was atrocious!!!!
The behavior of the siblings to each o... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bytxe1875 March 4, 2021

Finding Ohana, 2021

This film wasn’t bad because of the nonexistent “crude” language that - trust me - your twelve-year-olds use themselves, it was just bad. The characters were fl... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byAestheticsCloud February 3, 2021

Finding Ohana is the best movie i have ever watched!

At first, I was like I DON'T WANNA WATCH THIS and at the end, I'm like so scared bc like BRUH NIGHT MARCHERS so yeah I recommend you should buy this S... Continue reading

What's the story?

In FINDING 'OHANA, 12-year-old Pili (Kea Peahu) is forced to give up a hard-earned prize of geocaching summer camp when her grandfather (Branscombe Richmond) suffers a heart attack and her mom (Kelly Hu) decides they'll travel to visit him in Hawaii. There, Pili discovers an old diary that describes a hidden pirate treasure somewhere on the island. When it's revealed that Grandpa is in serious debt, Pili convinces her new young friend Casper (Owen Vaccaro) to set off to find the treasure to help her grandfather out. Her brother Ioane (Alex Aiono) and local teen Hana (Lindsay Watson) follow close on their tail, and the foursome find themselves in a mysterious, skeleton-filled cave searching for gold. Along the way, the siblings also discover their devotion to each other and their deep connection to their own Hawaiian heritage.

Is it any good?

This rollicking adventure has lots of appeal. What kid hasn't dreamed of going on a treasure hunt? Finding 'Ohana takes that premise and layers it into a good-natured tale of cultural identity, family ties, and swashbuckling adventure. The action is spearheaded by four likable young actors who look like they're having a ball playing the outspoken tomboy Pili, big brother Ioane, sensitive Casper, and kind Hana. The boys especially stand out in the cast for their comical timing. Aiono, who's known for his music on YouTube, could have a future in comedy if he wants one. Scenes where the kids substitute the voices for adult pirates acting out an imagined history are clever and silly.

Repeated references in the script to Indiana Jones are no mistake: The action is clearly inspired by the landmark franchise. In fact, a supporting character in 'Ohana is played by Ke Huy Quan, who co-starred as a child in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Hawaii is resplendent in its lush green vegetation, sharp peaks, and turquoise waters. Its natural beauty is on display as much as certain cultural aspects and its language, which characters frequently speak to one another. Sure, there are moments that feel overly didactic and others that are totally implausible, and some families could be turned off by some of the language, but overall this is a sweet and fun family movie with positive messages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they learned about Hawaiian culture from Finding 'Ohana. What about the local language? How could you learn more?

  • How do Pili and Ioane's attitudes toward their heritage evolve over the course of the film, and why? Can you relate their experience to your own family in any way? If so, how?

  • How do the characters show each other compassion? Why is this an important character strength?

  • Have you seen any other movies that center on treasure hunts? What's the appeal of this popular plotline? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

Character Strengths

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