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133 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...I come from a long line of chiefs."
In 2002, Niki Caro directed and co-wrote the screenplay for the endearing New Zealand film "Whale Rider", which was based upon novel of the same name written by Witi Ihimaera and published in New Zealand in 1987. (In Maori, the title is "Te Kaieke Tohora".) The story is about a young Maori girl named Paikea 'Pai' Apirana (Keisha Castle-Hughes), who...
Published on May 6 2004 by M. Hart

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars "It's become even more than that . . . he needs a prophet."
Niki Caro's "Whale Rider" is an uplifting film that contrasts sharply from the generic Hollywood fare being churned out these days. It has an energy to it that is infectious and a story that is as unconventional as it is novel. It also showcases the most heartfelt and authentic performance by a young actress in quite some time.
A young Maori girl named Pai Apirana...
Published on Jan. 31 2004 by Steven Y.


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1.0 out of 5 stars Whale Rider, March 4 2014
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This review is from: Whale Rider [Import anglais] (DVD)
DVD does not work in Canada.Want to see it again.I won't purchase DVD's from the internet again.Bought one for my friend as well. She can't watch it either.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie, Feb. 10 2014
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Lesley-ann Fox (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whale Rider (La Legende des Baleines) (Bilingual) (DVD)
The movie was heartwarming, emotional and triumphant! I recommend this for anyone who enjoys stories of perseverence. Bravo to the cast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whale Rider, Jan. 24 2013
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carole "carole" - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Whale Rider (La Legende des Baleines) (Bilingual) (DVD)
A very emotional slow moving story about the "Chief's" rejection of his grand daughter because she wasn't a boy. And how she learns all the rites herself and eventualy saves the beached whales. Set in beautiful New Zealand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Winner Children's BAFTA Best Feature Film 2003, Dec 1 2003
By A Customer
Beautiful and thought provoking. A must see film for all the family.
This film will surprise you with the strength of the emotions that it creates.
DVD extras are also well produced.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional, other-wordly, exceptional!, Dec 24 2003
By A Customer
This film is captivating on a soul level. The haunting soundtrack, and the cinematography, along with the incredible acting just took my breath away! This is one of my favorite movies ever!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whalerider, Feb. 14 2010
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Lynnea C. Mcgee "moon spirit" (Kelowna BC Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Whale Rider (La Legende des Baleines) (Bilingual) (DVD)
This movie give you a bit of cultural background of New Zealand & its people. I found it very interesting & touching. It's a feel good family movie that everyone of all ages should see.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, great actress, April 28 2004
By 
MD (Honduras) - See all my reviews
This is a great movie. Liked it a lot. Keisha Castle-Hughes was outstanding. A worthy oscar performance. She will definitely scorch the silver screen in Star Wars III.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, March 20 2004
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G. E. Lee "blackgelee" (...In the ocean, with my Whales...) - See all my reviews
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I was expecting the movie to be like the book, but it wasn't. I was very disappointed. But it was a good movie and I recommend it to anybody. Have a great time watching!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant movie., Dec 8 2003
By A Customer
Outstanding movie. Enjoyed greatly by all in my household, ages 6 - 45. Intelligent writing, great storytelling and acting, beautiful message and flawless execution.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful...but overbearing., June 18 2004
By 
R.M. (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
I read a great many positive reviews before I saw this movie, and so I must keep in mind that my expectations were higher than they had any right to be. Put simply, this is a coming of age movie with a New Zealand twist. It would resonate well with the younger set, but for the more critically minded (and those who don't like schmaltzy music played incessantly during the emotionally important scenes), the movie is a bit heavy-handed at times.
Whale Rider tells the story of a young girl growing up in New Zealand. She's a member of the Maori tribe, an ancient people that still follow the patriarchal traditions of their ancestors. The young heroine grows up knowing that though she is from the line of chiefs, dating back to the ancestor who rode from Hawaii on the back of a whale, she will never be the leader of her people. Her grandfather, once a famed chief himself, binds himself by his traditions and refuses to teach her with the boys of the island. Of course, none of these boys are as fit to lead as she, a point which the movie doesn't fail to make in numerous occasions.
Although the pro-feminist point is laudable and extremely applicable to modern times, the message is laid on so think as to become unpalatable even by this militant feminist. The grandfather seems to relish holding his granddaughter back from excellence, while the heroine struggles on, alone and stalwart. It seems unlikely that these caricatures could exist in real life. The heroine, Keisha Castle-Hughes, does her very best, but the script quite simply can't help her. And we all know she's going to ride the whale...so the suspense was negligible.
If you're looking for a coming-of-age movie that showcases a girl in the main role, I'd recommend Spirited Away instead. Sure, it's animated, but the animation is beautiful and the story is a great deal more compelling. Plus the flights of fancy are obviously that, rather than passed off by the director as truth.
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Whale Rider (La Legende des Baleines) (Bilingual)
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