5 Reasons we Loved Hibiscus and Ruthless

hibiscus and ruthless movie review samoan

As you know, I will always support our Samoan arts and events where possible.  I was so excited to see Hibiscus and Ruthless. I pre-purchased my ticket and made sure I had the best seat in the cinema. The day before I was supposed to go I was hospitalised...FML. I made sure that my sister and son went in my place. Their praise for the movie made me want to watch it even more. I had to go as a loner in a cinema that was filled mainly with couples, but I had the whole back row to myself so no complaining. Hibiscus and Ruthless exceeded my expectations. Here are the 5 reasons we loved Hibiscus and Ruthless.


Intergenerational Conflict

There is an endless struggle for power and control in a parent-child relationship. In the Samoan culture, we are taught to respect and obey our elders without question. Growing up in a westernised society pushes our younger generations to feel torn between cultural respect and western idealisation of independence. This causes even more conflict between a parent and a child. I loved that Hibiscus and Ruthless addressed this issue in their movie. It is important to bring such issues to the forefront so that our people are more comfortable talking about them.

Sharing Culture with our Friends

I was always scared to share my Samoan culture with my palagi friends growing up. I believed that they would think that I was weird for eating pisupo and rice for breakfast or wearing a lavalava around the house, even though it is so comfortable. Seeing Ruth embrace the Samoan culture as if it were her own made me even more determined to share the treasures of Samoa with the world. I know that our culture is beautiful and it needs to be shared wholeheartedly with others so that we can be better understood and so they can come to love it as much as we do.


Faaaloalo, respect is the core of the Faasamoa. I love the respect that Hibiscus showed her mother, grandmother, cousin, aunts, and employer. I loved that Ruth also knew when it was time to be respectful too. Growing up outside of Samoa I feel that respect is something that I am owed not necessarily something that I need to return. Living in Samoa taught me that I need to be respectful of everyone.

Strong Female Characters

Seeing women depicted as strong and intelligent always make me smile. Knowing that we live in a world where our role models used to be blonde women who stood in the background smiling makes me sad. Not only do we need our future generations to see people of colour in the world around them, they also need to see women. Not just a woman of colour who stands quietly in the background. We need to see women of colour working hard to get her education, standing up for what she believes in and just being badass.

Family Friendly

I remember quickly changing the channel on the television when a kissing scene came on because I knew that my mother would not approve. We live in a world where everything is sexualised and full of trash talk and violence.  I am so happy to see that Hibiscus and Ruthless is a family-friendly movie I would feel comfortable seeing with my mother and son.

Hibiscus and Ruthless is still showing in selected cinemas around New Zealand and Australia. Check out their Facebook page for a cinema near you.

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