Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Written by: Cameron Crowe
Produced by: Scott Rubin, Cameron Crowe
Other cast: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin
Release date: May 29, 2015
Premiere date: May 27, 2015
Genre: Romantic comedy
Running time: 105 minutes
A celebrated military contractor returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and reconnects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for the hard-charging Air Force watch-dog assigned to him.
Full Plot Summary
Military contractor Brian Gilcrest returns to Hawaii on behalf of billionaire Carson Welch, who intends to develop local land into a space center. Following a celebrated military career that ended in shadowy deals in Afghanistan, the now disillusioned Gilcrest is tasked with negotiating a deal with the Native Hawaiians and supporting Carson’s launch of a privately-funded satellite. Gilcrest’s mission is complicated by his former girlfriend Tracy, now married with two children, and his idealistic Air Force liaison, Captain Allison Ng, whose wide-eyed fascination with space reminds him of his own childhood sense of wonder.
Gilcrest and Ng travel to meet King Kanahele at his isolated community to negotiate a deal. They require his participation in a blessing ceremony that will allow Welch to build his center. Along the way, Ng tries to engage Gilcrest in conversation about his life and work but is unable to break through his cynicism. When they meet the king, Ng, who is one quarter Hawaiian, bonds with him and his companions, identifying with their spiritual view of the land and sky. After prolonged negotiations, Gilcrest brokers a deal for the king’s participation in exchange for control over the territory of two whole mountains and free cell phone service for the area. The next night, Gilcrest and Ng have dinner at Tracy’s house, where they meet her husband Woody= and their two children, Grace and Mitchell. At one point, Gilcrest and Tracy find themselves alone in the kitchen, where she admits that she loved him and had plans to make a life with him before he abandoned her thirteen years ago.
The next evening, they attend Carson’s Christmas party, where the commander of Pacific Air Forces General Dixon tells Gilcrest not to screw up their deal with the Hawaiians. One of the general’s men hands Gilcrest a thumb drive containing top secret information for the upcoming satellite launch. During the party, Gilcrest becomes attracted to Ng, who is having fun dancing with Carson. Afterwards, Ng joins Gilcrest in his room while he recounts his experiences in Kabul, where he almost died. He tells her that this was the first night he was truly happy to be living, and the two have sex. The next day, Ng discovers that Carson’s satellite will actually carry a nuclear payload. When she tries to resign, her colonel tells her it is a private operation run by Carson and that Gilcrest is aware of the details. Later she confronts Gilcrest in tears for lying to her and the Hawaiians.
Meanwhile, Woody and Tracy confront each other about recent tensions in their marriage, which he believes were caused by Gilcrest’s arrival. They agree to separate. The next morning, Tracy shows up at Gilcrest’s hotel and reveals that Grace is his daughter. Later that day, after the successful blessing of the new pedestrian gate, Gilcrest learns that the Chinese are attempting to hack the satellite’s code to prevent the impending launch. He rushes to the command center and undermines the hackers’ efforts. As he watches the satellite enter geosynchronous orbit, he realizes what he’s done and its impact on Ng, whom he has come to love. Quickly, he orders a massive sonic upload to be sent to space, and he and Ng hold hands as they watch the satellite explode. Believing Ng’s continued association with him will ruin her promising career, he tells her they should not see each other again.
Carson is not pleased with the destruction of his satellite and confronts Gilcrest, who tells him he cannot “buy the sky”. General Dixon is also incensed by Gilcrest’s actions, threatening to prosecute him.
Gilcrest returns to Tracy’s house, where she reads him a moving love letter from Woody. Gilcrest tells her she belongs with her husband and she encourages him to go after Ng. Woody comes home and sees Gilcrest in his house. Woody tells Gilcrest he knows Gilcrest is Grace’s father. He asks Gilcrest if he slept with Tracy while he was gone. Gilcrest tells Woody he slept with Ng and not with his wife. Woody goes into the living room where Tracy is cleaning up. She sees Woody and they both run into each other’s arms, then are joined by Grace and Mitchell. Gilcrest leaves the house while the happy family reunion continues.
General Dixon soon learns that Gilcrest was telling the truth about the nuclear weapons payload and praises him for what he’s done, revealing that authorities will soon be taking Carson into custody. Outside the hotel, Gilcrest finds Ng, who is preparing to leave. He tells her he loves her, is staying in Hawaii and will be waiting for her to return. Later that night, Gilcrest stands outside Grace’s hula class and watches her dance. She notices him, he nods at her and she suddenly realizes he is her father. With tears of joy in her eyes, she runs outside and embraces him then returns to her class to continue her hula dancing.
Emma Stone was first to be cast in the film in 2012. On July 31, 2013, Alec Baldwin joined the cast of the film. There was a casting call for extras on August 29 on Oahu. Bradley Cooper went to Hawaii on September 14, twelve days before filming began.
On October 7, it was announced that principal photography was still underway in Hawaii. Emma Stone received ground training on how to fly the Piper PA44-180 Seminole airplane from Rob Moore, Chief Instructor Pilot of Galvin Flight Services Hawaii, who later flew the airplane near Ka’a’awa Valley for the inflight shots. Moore acted as the aviation technical advisor. Bradley Cooper was filming in downtown Honolulu on December 18 and 19.
On February 2, 2015, Sony Pictures stated that the film’s final title would be
The film’s first trailer was released on February 11, 2015.
Pamela McClintock at The Hollywood Reporter estimated that the financial losses by the film finished to around $65 million by the time the film ended its global theatrical run, based on a budget of “$37 million-plus”.
According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 20% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 166 reviews, with an average rating of 4.30/10.
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