Hibiscus & Ruthless (2018), Dir. Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa

Hibiscus & Ruthless (2018), Dir. Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa
Any guy that wants to talk to you...report back to me.
— Ruth, Hibiscus & Ruthless (2018)

Stars: Suivai Pilisipi Autagavaia, Lafitaga Mafaufau, Anna-Maree Thomas, Yvonne Maea-Brown, Haanz Fa'avae-Jackson, Thierry Martel, Daya Sao-Mafiti.
Director: Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa
Screenplay: Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa

What a supreme film, Vaiaoga-Ioasa has made a genuinely satisfying piece of cinema that is enjoyable, funny, relatable, realistic, and hyper real. His cast carried by Suivai Pilisipi Autagavaia (Hibiscus) are having the time of their lives bringing these characters and story to life. A real kiwi and dear I say, Auckland perspective that bleeds energy off the screen.

Hibiscus must follow the rules of her mum (Lafitaga Mafaufau), education first, boys later. She goes to university, then to work, then straight home—if she doesn't get her school work done within her schedule then she needs to figure that out damn quick. Her best friend and basically adopted sister, Ruth—or Ruthless (Anna-Maree Thomas) is the opposite to Hibiscus; outgoing, defensive, tough, yet a real heart of gold with immense respect to her samoan family. Together they are peas in a pod who are there for each other in every aspect of life. For their final project a university they must work together to pass or fail their class and earn their degree. Piece of cake right?

This film is about learning from your mistakes. While Hibiscus has a strict mother, it is coming from love and desperation to make sure she is set up well for the rest of her life which means boys, babies, and love can must come second. But how can you really follow these rules if you have no understanding of the consequences from your own personal experiences.

A magnificently hilarious little film that highlights the true diversity that this amazing city and country has. Though I am not a pacific islander, I feel a connection to this film, to New Zealand, Aotearoa as this is my country, this is our country and damn are we talented.

★ ★ ★ ★