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Whale Rider (2002)

Cast: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, more...
Director: Niki Caro, Niki Caro
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Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Australia & New Zealand
Running Time: 101 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Based on the novel of the same name by Maori writer Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider is a unique family drama directed Niki Caro. On the eastern coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their ancestor Paikea was saved from drowning by riding home on the back of a whale. The tribal group has since granted leadership positions to the first-born males, believing them to be descendants of Paikea. This tradition is challenged when a young mother dies in childbirth along with her newborn male son. His twin sister manages to survive and the father (Cliff Curtis) runs off, overwhelmed with grief. The little girl, Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), is brought up by stubborn grandfather Koro (Rawiri Paratene) and gentle grandmother Nanny (Vicky Haughton). Koro, the chief of their tribe, is disappointed because Pai's twin brother was supposed to be the next leader. Trying to find the proper successor, he attempts to organize a leadership group amongst the local boys while Pai enlists the help of her has-been uncle Rawiri (Grant Roa) to teach herself the art of chiefdom. She appears to possess a natural leadership ability and adventurous spirit that draws her to the proliferation of her faltering tribe. Whale Rider premiered at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival and won the World Cinema Audience Award. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

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GreenCine Member Reviews

Totally charming lead character. by rpmfla July 27, 2005 - 10:32 AM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
I'll not rehash what a great film this is as others here have already pointed this out. I just wanted to add that the lead character is one of the most interesting and charming young female roles I have seen in a long time. It would be a good film for a parent to watch with their young girls. Very inspirational.

Mystery by TaoG April 12, 2005 - 4:11 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Months later, images and feelings from this movie haunt me. If you saw trailers or read the synopsis try to clear your mind and allow this film to live completely through you instead; stumble onto this with an open mind. I had no idea this movie would be so good. Beautiful cinematography and strong performances allow this art to resonate...with great mystery and love.

unexpectedly captivating by macferrin October 6, 2004 - 1:50 PM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
while i agree with giant robot that this wasn't too suspenseful a movie, i found it unexpectedly captivating. the characters are very well developed and portrayed and the plot is tight - it's a great story, so who cares if there aren't unexpected twists and turns? how often have we seen maori whale riding movies anyway?

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.60)
330 Votes
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