This is a 2006 Japanese film directed by Sang-il Lee (李 相日), based on the real-life events.
A group of enthusiastic girls take on hula dancing to save their small mining village, where they help the formation of Joban Hawaiian Center (now known as Spa Resort Hawaiians).
Later the center is to become one of Japan's most popular theme parks.
In 1965, the northeastern coal mining town of Iwaki was facing unemployment due to oil becoming the predominant energy resource in Japan.
The mining company develops a plan to use hot springs, which seep into the mines, to provide heat for a Hawaiian Center spa resort.
The plan is greeted with hostility by the miners, but the company recruits a down-on-her-luck dance instructor from Tokyo to train local girls in the hula.
It is a tearjerking-to-heartwarming melodrama-comedy about miners' daughters who take a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get out of a down-beat, hardworking yet monotonous life.
The story is good, the acting is good, the Hula dancing and music are excellent. It is mis-classified as a comedy, it is more of a drama. It’s worth watching more than once, one of my all time favorites.
A must see, lots of fun.
the guide on my Hawaii cruise talked about the popularity of hula in Japan and I wondered why. now I know. very enjoyable movie, a bit melodramatic. I especially liked that the girls, their teacher and the mother were the focus of the story.
Based on a true story, coal miners' daughters in a poor coal mining town in northern Japan band together to become professional hula dancers to help save their town when the mine is about to close. Heartwarming.
Enjoyable movie. Based on a true story of a collapsing coal-industry town in Japan re-inventing itself as a Hawaiian resort. All the more interesting because it's real history.
Fantastic Movie. A must see, particularly considering that this true story is set just 50km from the current nuclear crisis in Japan. It's a story that will bring tears and smiles. I watched the special features disk first which has two "making of" videos and interviews with the real first group of Hula dancers at the resort. I was deeply moved by each of those. And the movie itself does not disappoint. It was just a fluke that I picked up this DVD and was shocked to find the story so relevant to the current crisis. One of life's little quirks.
If you're curious about the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crisis and its effect on the contemporary Hula Girls, go here: http://www.mysinchew.com/node/56133
(posted April 22 2011)
I really enjoyed this movie. A very sweet upbeat movie.
Based on a true story, HULA GIRLS is a heartwarming comedy about coal miners’ daughters who took a once-in-a-lifetime chance to escape their monotonous lives, only to become unwitting heroes to their depressed mining town as well as the whole of Japan.
It was fun and heart-warming good family movie. I laughed and cried with my 6 year old daughter. I really liked this one.
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