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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 19 June 2014
Let's face it: the vast majority of the "gay themed" movies are quite bad, more like excuses to see hot guys kissing and/or having sex. If that's what you are looking for, then go look somewhere else. "HAWAII" is not "gay themed" in that sense. It's a movie with homosexual protagonists.

And it's not that it is short on homoeroticism, because there's plenty of it here. In fact, a key point of this movie is Berger's masterly use of male eroticism in a way I haven't seen before, not just to please the viewers's senses, but as an actual element of the narrative.

"HAWAII" tells the story of two childhood friends that meet again in their thirties/late twenties. Their lives are quite different, as they belong to different social classes. A strange play starts between the two, fueled by sexual tension and the desire to control the situation. But the intimate moments they share, and the memories of their childhood, gradually reveal their feelings for each other, and put their differences to the test.

There's a lot more to talk about, but I don't want to spoil anything. It's surprising how a simple story like this can become a movie with so many layers of meaning. It's better to watch it several times, because there are so many details that will probably go unnoticed at first.

Just a warning: the start of the movie is a quite slow prologue in which nothing interesting seems to be happening. Don't worry and keep watching it. It's worth your time.

One of the best movies I have seen in a while.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 20 February 2015
Hawaii is a bit like an old silent film, except that it's in colour, and deals overtly with modes of feeling that were not possible in those days. The music plays a very prominent role, especially at the beginning and end, often covering the dialogue to create an atmosphere. It is all about the images and their precise tone which is given through the music, which has an orchestral/chamber richness but always on the gentle side. Where the two men do speak, the amount of information tends to be surprisingly abundant, so that those moments do register, and you have to concentrate. Not much happens but it is a subtle portrayal of a growing love which leaves quite a lot open to the viewer. There is, quite literally, a viewer for discs of slides that seems to work as a metaphor for the writer character to see into his own heart, and this motif appears only towards the end. If the pacing were faster, it would not register properly. This character, Eugenio, is quite middle-class and staying in his uncle's house, while Martin is a drifter born on the wrong side of the tracks whose aunt has gone from the village of his childhood. He's the kind of character more common in American films. Both men are attractive on screen without conforming to the pinup stereotype: Mateo Chiarino, for instance, is marvellously ungym-toned for someone of his physical type, but his natural body, with its undeveloped shoulders, is very alluring. They both look exposed without their t-shirts, as opposed to naturally half-naked. Typically of Marco Berger, there is a surprisingly intense charge to some of the scenes and the voyeurism of gazing at the boys in their underwear is certainly a factor. Still, if Hitchcock can do it with women ... The context here is diametrically the opposite of the master of suspense, intimacy being everything. Nevertheless there is a huge penknife on one of Eugenio's t-shirts and a disturbing incident of cruelty from the men's childhoods is mentioned. Not much is made of these things, except perhaps to suggest other notes floating in the background that may be a part of life, but not in this idyllic phase of early maturity. I did wonder if it wasn't a little too low-key but this is what is so daring about it - it adopts an intimate tone and keeps its eye on the sensuality of these characters in their summer bubble.
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on 2 May 2014
I'm a big fan of Marco Berger's work, having really enjoyed both Plan B and Absent. Hawaii might just be the best of the these movies. A slow burner with minimal dialogue, it manages to draw you in to these two men's lives, both quietly going about their lives with very little contact with others. The pacing is excellent and for me I was rooting for these two. You won't be disappointed with this film, it's a great movie.
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on 23 September 2014
An enjoyable film, beautiful to look at, I acknowledge that some people may think it was slow, for me the film kept moving and when you thought that it was slowing down it took an twist to the plot and kept the story line going. The acting of the two main lead actors was very good, the visual aspect of the film is first class and full credit must go to the director for keeping a tight rein on the production of the film.
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on 24 June 2014
I was completely charmed by this film; an absolute delight. It is an old-fashioned love story in which the two main players just happen to be men. No overt sex, no politics, just love. Congratulations to the cast and director.
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on 9 February 2016
This film is perfect. It is understated, beautifully acted and beautifully filmed. It is romantic with intelligently realised emotional depth, and in that, it feels like the very best of French cinema. I kept expecting, but hoping desperately, because I was enjoying the easy pace of the narrative and the subtly realised characters of Martin and Eugenio so much, that it wouldn't descend into a formulaic gay romp – be warned, if that's your liking – and it doesn't. The denouement is almost incidental and, no spoilers, it is the kind of intelligent film that doesn't need to pander to expectation. I recommended this film without reservation.
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on 21 December 2014
So agonisingly S.L.O.W- Its like when you fancy the pants of someone- and its all there in front of you- and you just can't touch!

Ok I know most men are straight- which renders a lot of gay men to this frustaration- but this is a movie! At least-for ONCE-we could have had a bit faster conclusion to the agony.

I wouldn't say this is a good film- its basically like extended foreplay - that goes on and on and on - whilst your frustrations build up and up and up! Personally- I think the ending was a cop-out.

A queer eye for the straight guy.
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on 13 May 2015
I was totally charmed by this movie as I was by the other Marco Berger film I have seen, Plan B. I do like his films and will now follow up on Absent. They move at a slow languid pace without much of a story line but are beguiling. Also very real. The protagonists slowly but surely come to the realisation of their attraction to each other but it takes time for that first move to happen. As a result, there maybe no sex, but the tension is very erotic. You are left memorised waiting for the inevitable to happen and thank god it does. Nothing like a gay movie minus the stereotypes and with a happy ending. The performances here are very good. It is more or less a two hander and both actors equip themselves admirably. Can't wait for his next movie which I understand will be Butterfly.
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on 16 August 2015
There's not much to add to the reviews which have already been posted. This is a very good film. It is slow moving, perhaps to build the tension, but also perhaps to reflect the reality of relationships between men, neither of whom knows, or can be sure of, the sexual orientation of the other. There's not a lot of dialogue, which is perhaps fortunately as the sub-titles when they appear are a bit difficult to read in their entirety.
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on 16 November 2014
WoW. This film though! By far, through and through, best movie I've ever seen. Gay films are usually really bad, this is rare gem. Heart completely in tatters -- wo0f. Thank you for bringing this to life.
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