Directed by Niki Caro
Starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Cliff Curtis
Running Time: 101 minutes
Whale Rider is the story of Paikea who is descended from
a long line of Maori chiefs. She was a twin, but her brother
died in childbirth along with her Mother. So instead of
the new chief, they received a girl who by their laws was
unable to possess the title. Unfortunately, the birth of
her brother and been the last hope of the tribe, and after
the tragedy of her childbirth, her people descended further
The Maori traditions are personified by Paikea's grandfather,
Paka. He is strict and although he does love his granddaughter,
he does in fact blame her for the troubles surrounding them.
Paikea wants to be accepted by him, and treated like a proper
granddaughter, so she continually strives to get please
him, while she comes to terms with her place in society.
This is a powerful and beautiful movie. The New Zealand
coast should have a supporting actor credit here because
it has an effect on every scene. The movie moves a little
slow at times, but this makes it effective at making the
audience understand the conflicting emotions that these
characters are feeling.
Keisha Castle-Hughes steals the movie, and I really hope
that her performance at least will be remembered come Oscar
time. She should be recognized as a supporting actress.