We open in the midst of a late night robbery at a Honolulu music store. But the perpetrators are not career criminals… they are a group of young teens led by LANA, 16, a troubled girl who has bounced around foster care after being abandoned by her mother when she was only six. Her Honolulu caseworker, MISS CAPE, arranges a for a new foster mother… and unfortunately for city-girl Lana, she lives in a tiny village on Moloka’i.
Lana meets her new foster mother, MAMA P, who struggles to earn Lana’s trust. Complicating matters is JORDAN, Mama P’s second husband and part-time musician, who butts heads with Lana almost immediately. Just when it appears Lana might actually connect with her new foster mother, Mama P dies suddenly.
Feeling abandoned yet again, Lana continues to clash with her now sole foster parent, Jordan. After fleeing in the night, Lana meets EHA, a mysterious old Hawaiian man. Eha lovingly handcrafts ukuleles, and also provides lessons to kids. While reluctant at first, Lana falls under his wing, and begins to rediscover herself while learning the beauty of expressing herself through the ukulele. Meanwhile, without Mama P’s income, Jordan is forced to abandon his surfing and music lifestyle with his crazy surf buddy DAX, get a “real job” at the hotel.
As Jordan learns to grow up and take responsibility for being a foster father, Lana finally discovers a way to express herself positively through music. As she prepares to enter the Honolulu ukulele festival, Jordan gets offered his dream job, but it’s on the mainland. Feeling abandoned again, Lana lashes out, and she is brought to social services while Jordan is at work. When Eha helps Jordan realize that a job is temporary but family is forever, Jordan races to get Lana back out of the system… and find a way to fly her to Oahu in time for the competition.
It culminates in a beautiful, heartwarming finish, that reaffirms that family and love is the true music for the soul.