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Princess Kaiulani: movie review

‘Princess Kaiulani’ plays like a History Channel feature on Hawaii’s fight to defend its independence, led by a feisty princess.

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First-time writer-director Marc Forby’s “Princess Kaiulani” is a stodgy period piece about the US’s annexation of Hawaii in 1898 and the Hawaiian princess who fought and finessed for her people and died at 23 from what the film says was “a broken heart at the loss of her country.”

Kaiulani’s father was Scottish, her mother Hawaiian, and she was put through the British school system before returning to the hoopla of her homeland and facing off against colonialists and imperialists of all stripes.

All of this, and more, is presented in History Channel-style lock step. As the doomed princess, Q’orianka Kilcher, who costarred as Pocahontas in Terence Malick’s “The New World,” has imperially striking features but limited acting skills. If her performances should ever rise to the level of her looks, she’ll be great. Grade: C- (Rated PG for some violence and thematic material, and for brief language, sensuality, and smoking.)

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