Movie Review: Finding ‘Ohana starring Alex Aiono & Kelly Hu

Image Source: The New York Times

Distributor: Netflix
Director: Jude Weng
Producers: Ian Bryce
Scriptwriter: Christina Strain
Main Cast: Alex Aiono, Kelly Hu, Kea Peahu, Lindsay Watson & Owen Vaccaro
Release Date: January 29 2021
Running Time: 123 Minutes
Certificate: PG

Finding ‘Ohana

Finding ‘Ohana is a perfect watch if you’re looking for a family-friendly film. It’s an easy watch-along with a good moral message.


Finding ‘Ohana firstly explores the narrative surrounding the lives of Leilani (Kelly Hu), Ioane (Alex Aiono), and Pili played by Kea Peahu. At this time, they are currently living in Brooklyn. Pili is the youngest sibling, who is obsessing with treasure hunting and exploring. In addition to this, she’s almost like a modern-day Indiana Jones/Dora the Explorer. Differing from her brother, Ioane who is the typical moody teenage boy. After winning multiple competitions, their mother explains that her father has had a heart attack. They leave for Hawaii immediately.

After arriving in Hawaii, both siblings are constantly arguing in the sibling fashion. They are both constantly trying to get each other into trouble. They have forgotten everything about Ohana. Finally being able to explore her Grandfather’s bus, she realizes that this is a real find. Using her sleuthing skills, she finds a ‘treasure’ book that her grandfather had written. This becomes the narrative of the film. After speaking to her Grandfather, he explains the story behind the legend of the treasure, and Pili gets excited. After taking Pili out on an adventure, the Grandad (Branscombe Richmond) falls and is taken to hospital.

Thirdly, the day after, Pili and her friend Casper (Oscar Vaccaro) decide to become mini Indiana Jones’ and find this treasure. However, it’s not as easy as they first expected. Shortly after, they are joined by Ioane and Hana (Lindsay Watson) as the film tries to establish a relationship between the two, Pili and Casper find themselves in trouble. After being found by Ioane and Hana, the two begin a rescue mission, subsequently, they fall deeper into the sacred tunnel. Which was clearly not apart of the plan for either party.

The four adventure through the caves by following the map. Partaking in a series of old fashioned challenges, the four eventually find the treasure. Learning the moral message of Ohana, the film ends with the family gleeful and reconnecting in Hawaii.


The film has a family fun feel to it, a PG version of Indiana Jones with light-hearted humor and adventure. A film I wouldn’t normally watch unless I was with my younger nieces, it is more suited towards the younger generation with its silly humor and moral message. However, this film would be suited for the entire family to watch. I personally wouldn’t watch this film again alone, but it was good enough for me to finish.

The relationship between the siblings is realistic. Which gives the impression that children with siblings could relate to. But whilst it’s funny that they argue, that the film provides moral teaching which is to look out for and respect your family. A heart-warming lesson that I think everyone can learn from, not just young children. The film teaches us that we should hold our family close, as we never know what will happen. A very fitting message for 2021. The adventure allows them to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage after abandoning it when they moved to New York.

Undoubtedly, I think this film will have the same effect on this generation’s childhood that The Goonies had on mine. The film relates heavily to the same classic treasure adventure film that I loved growing up. With modern adaptions to current culture, the film gives us the thrill of treasure hunting. Mixed with cheesy humor, it’s a good film for a Sunday watch.

To sum up, the film is the perfect family-friendly film. However, the film is 30 minutes too long. It should be noted that it would have benefited from removing clumsy scenes that aren’t really relevant to the film’s narrative. Unfortunately, it’s slightly overacted in parts, but this is something that can be pushed aside. Additionally, Aiono and Peahu have a great on-screen connection and play the role of siblings very well. Their acting was enjoyable. However, it was refreshing to see them adapt to the role of being humble and to see them genuinely caring about each other after learning the moral of Ohana. Nevertheless, this film is good enough to lighten up a dark and dreary February Sunday.


Above all, it’s clear that Netflix has attempted to bring The Goonies in 2021, but it hasn’t had the same effect. A light-hearted film with ‘cringy’ humour, this film is perfect for families. Last but not least, Finding Ohana has gone into the category of ‘I’ve watched it, it was good, but I won’t watch it again.’


Target Audience: Ages 9+
Content: Some Mild Language
Recommendation?: Yes

Overall Rating 6.5/10 – Okay

Further Details

For more information about Finding ‘Ohana, click here.