Hibiscus & Ruthless is hilarious and humourous

Monday February 26, 2018 Written by Published in Entertainment
A scene from the hilarious Hibiscus & Ruthless movie now screening at Empire Raro. 18022321 A scene from the hilarious Hibiscus & Ruthless movie now screening at Empire Raro. 18022321

Nowadays when a new movie rolls into Empire Cinema, it’s often something you’re already familiar with, like the latest instalment in a superhero franchise, an adaptation of some bestselling book, or an old classic remade for modern audiences.


Just look at the past two new releases – 50 Shades Freed, the third in the franchise, and Black Panther, the 18th movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Not that, that is necessarily a bad thing, but every once in a while it is good to get out of your comfort zone and see something a bit different – which is exactly what Hibiscus & Ruthless is.

Written and directed by Samoan filmmaker Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa (Three Wise Cousins), this won’t be too far out of the comfort zone for some people, as the location and/or characters may feel very familiar.

The film revolves around best friends Hibiscus (Suivai Autagavaia) and Ruth (Anna-Maree Thomas) in their final year at the University of Auckland.

Hibiscus lives under the thumb of a demanding mother (Lafitaga Mafaufau), who shows very little love or affection, and does not let her live the life she wants.

Ruth, meanwhile, is what the Joker would be like if he was a 20-something year old at university, and thrives on creating chaos in Biscuits’ (her nickname for Hibiscus) life.

First and foremost, the movie is a comedy, and plays off the opposite dynamic of the two friends.

It constantly subverts your expectation of what will happen in a scene, something that the audience at Thursday night’s screening greatly enjoyed.

The plot of the movie is fairly straightforward – Hibiscus, ever the dedicated student thanks to her upbringing, is teamed up with Ruth to create a project that will either graduate or fail them.

While the story on the surface may seem bland, it is what happens outside of that that makes the movie a huge hit.

Hibiscus shows off her skills early on by successfully organising her cousin’s wedding, which features the Pacific take on Magic Mike.

She is also pursued by three different guys, each completely different and each producing laughs with their attempts to gain her attention.

The cast of characters that surround the main two are fantastic, with the grandmother of Hibiscus being a particular standout.

Although it is incredibly funny, it does also have a powerful emotional side that shows itself near the conclusion to great effect.

When Taika Waititi infused Thor: Ragnarok with humour people in the Pacific would recognise, it made an already excellent movie even better.

What Hibiscus & Ruthless does is build on that by having the same style of humour, only this time it is being performed by people that look or act like someone you might know.

Best of it all it is created by someone that is deeply in love with their Pacific culture.

It is something that you simply won’t want to miss.

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