ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – K – Whale Rider (2002) Movie Review

This is under K because of star Keisha Castle Hughes getting the Oscar Nomination.

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Niki Caro (Screenplay) Witi Ihimaera (Book)

Starring: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis, Grant Roa, Mana Taumaunu, Rachel House

Plot: A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Māori girl fight to fulfil a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.


Tagline – One young girl dared to confront the past, change the present and determine the future

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Whale Rider starts when Pai is born, with her grandfather Koro (Paratene) expecting a grandson to continue the tradition of the tribe, where the first born will always become the leader in the future, a 1000-year-tradition.

When Pai’s father Porourangi (Curtis) returns, he looks to show Pai more of the world, bring forward his own problems with the age-old traditions, leaving Pai to stand up to her grandfather to break strict traditions for the next generations.

Thoughts on Whale Rider

ThoughtsWhale Rider is a drama that will show how one young girl will look to help break down the walls of traditions within her Māori family. This story will show how strict the traditions are, with only the male members of the family being able to get the honour to lead, with the elders not wanting to break from these traditions, while the younger members have been getting tired of the traditions all together. The story is important, it is another look at a society where people will need to start getting treated as equals if they are to move onto the next stage of their traditions. The performances a wonderful with young Keisha Castle-Hughes getting an Oscar nomination with her performance here. This is an important drama, one that should help show the changes happening in the world.

Final Thoughts Whale Rider is a beautiful drama to show one tradition that continues to change.

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