'Aloha': Five Signs You're Watching a Cameron Crowe Movie

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Precocious kids, a chance at redemption and gut-spilling speeches? Yep, they're all here.

Viewers of Aloha might feel a slight sense of familiarity during the film.

The Cameron Crowe-directed dramedy, which stars Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams in the story of a defense contractor who falls for an Air Force pilot in Hawaii, features key themes that have popped up in the director's previous works.

Here are five ways in which Aloha is reminiscent of other Crowe films. [Minor spoilers ahead.]

1. Main character starts anew — only to be visited by remnants of his former way of life

Crowe's oeuvre is all about second chances. In Aloha, Brian Gilcrest (Cooper) is trying to bounce back from an epic gaffe in Kabul by heading up a satellite launch, but he can't escape his past, as his ex Tracy (McAdams) returns. Similarly, Jerry (Tom Cruise) needed to prove himself after getting fired from his sports agency in Jerry Maguire, Drew (Orlando Bloom) revisited his bumpy family life after contemplating suicide in Elizabethtown and Benjamin (Matt Damon) was haunted by memories of his late wife in We Bought a Zoo.

2. Big, heart-on-the-sleeve speeches

Crowe's characters aren't afraid to get unabashedly sentimental. By the end of Aloha, the leads make flowery speeches similar to those at the endings of Say Anything and Jerry Maguire. 

3. A precocious youngster

Tracy's 9-year-old son Mitchell (Jaeden Lieberher) loves spouting out facts about Hawaiian mythology, not unlike Ray's (Jonathan Lipnicki) knowledge of the weight of a human head in Jerry Maguire or 7-year-old Rosie's (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) love of animals in We Bought a Zoo.

4. Father issues

Just as Jerry Maguire's Jerry wanted to be a father figure for Ray, William's (Patrick Fugit) father was out of the picture in Almost Famous and Drew deals with his father's death in Elizabethtown, a key Aloha plot point centers on Gilcrest coming to terms with the idea of being a dad.

5. Learning that money isn't everything

In Aloha, Gilcrest ended up with misbegotten funds funds from the Afghans but later redeemed himself. This harkens back to Jerry learning to care about his clients as people in Jerry Maguire, David (Cruise) getting over his focus on luxury in Vanilla Sky and Drew realizing his life wasn't over because of his financial hiccup in Elizabethtown

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@THR.com
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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