[after his parents have left, thinking he is ill] "They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my…
On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who escaped death when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the back of a whale. From then on, Whangara chiefs, always the first-born, always male, have been considered Paikea's direct descendants. Pai, an 11-year-old girl in a patriarchal New Zealand tribe, believes she is destined to be the new chief. But her grandfather Koro is bound by tradition to pick a male leader. Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must fight him and a thousand years of tradition to fulfill her destiny.
“We were waiting for the firstborn of the new generation, for the descendant of the whale rider. For the boy who would be chief.”
This New Zealand coming of age film about a young girl from the Whangara tribe struggling to find her place in this traditionally patriarch society, opens with tragedy. A woman dies giving birth to twins, and only the sister survives. She is the one narrating this event while introducing us to her tribe's culture and saying what a huge disappointment this was for her grandfather who was expecting the first born son to become the tribe chief. Her father, Porourangi (Cliff Curtis), is heartbroken and against her grandfather's wishes he doesn't assume the responsibility of becoming…
Seventh watch of March around the World: New Zealand. Whale Rider aims to sketch the life of (modern) Maori, centring its focus on the story of Paikea - a twelve-year-old girl who aspires to become the tribe’s chief against the will of her conservative grandfather in whose mind such a leading role belongs to males only. It is the uplifting, crowd-pleasing and easy digestible tale you’d expect when reading the synopsis; there are unhappy moments for sure, but the finale is of course inevitably sweet. The formula is rewarding to some extent, namely as an uplifting and sometimes comical coming-of-age story about a girl defying all odds, but as a more serious drama, which it is clearly aiming for, it…
This never interested me when it came out, and I would've never watched it if it didn't crop up on the telly late last night.
I was aware of Keisha Castle-Hughes' Oscar nom, and she does perform well, perhaps lacking the wow factor worthy of a nomination.
A Maori village "led" by an old man stuck in traditions of yore, is disappointed his son only had a daughter and not the son needed to continue the line of chiefs.
It is evident the daughter is just as good a possible reciprient of the "throne" though, and everyone can see it but the old man.
And thus the story goes.
You all will know how this pans out in the end, but the whales were pretty spectacular.
As with any NZ film I think I've ever seen, Cliff Curtis appears now and then in a story a bit too eager to tug at your heartstrings, but overall well acted and paced.
An interesting look at another culture....the Whangara people from the east coast of New Zealand. Who believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who rode a whale. Keisha Castle-Hughes, in an Oscar nominated performance, is outstanding....even more impressive for a 11 year old at the time of the making of the movie. Beautiful locations to see...as well as a touching grandfather/granddaughter storyline.
It is a very rare event to stumble upon a film that manages to be so pervasively universal and emotionally empathetic. The film sells itself in its covers and publicity as an allegorical film, maybe even a family/fantasy feature; opens as a metaphor through an ancient legend that pays respect to the tribal traditions of New Zealand; transcendently evolves into a parable about the power of love, family, perseverance, and respect; and closes with an unprecedented epic fashion that modern cinema is rarely afforded. What an impeccable film! What powerful revelations!
1) The opening tale speaks of a legendary whale rider named Paikea who escaped death approximately 1000 years ago when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the…
A film about tribal mores being broken for the better. Acceptance, healing and the preservation of a culture that is stronger for its infusion of progressive inclusion with deeply held values.
An elder in a Maori community is immediately bitter toward his granddaughter when her brother and mother die in childbirth. It is the end of a line of male leaders that stretches back for countless generations and the death throes of this tradition weigh heavily on his mind. Years pass, and the man warms to his granddaughter, caring for her as his son travels the world, trying to find his own path in life. The girl is exceedingly smart and show great sensitivity to tribal customs, but the extent…
she really did ride that whale !!
Sincerely a beautiful and magical movie!
There is no whale riding until the last 15 minutes.
A young Maori girl (Keisha Castle-Hughes) has ambitions to take on the leadership role that would have been her twin brother's had he not died along with their mother in childbirth. Their grandfather wishes to carry on tradition and knows he must find a male successor. A beautiful film.
I hardly ever cry watching films, but this was so touching that I did.
I remember really liking this film when it came out. Back in Vancouver I had a few aboriginal friends, and I was able to appreciate certain aspects of it. I know this film became a popular representation of feminism, but I feel like it's more than that. I wonder what's become of Paikea...
Riding whales and defeating the patriarchy!
What very plainly could have gotten completely lost in its hyper-conventional story finds the space it needs to breath in its details, especially the very lived-in feeling family that makes up more or less its entire cast, a certain willingness to subsume itself in very lyrical and spiritual sequences without drawing undue attention to them, and a pretty lovely lead performance. Castle-Hughes isn't the part of those I find most striking, but she is perhaps the most impressive part, for my money; even among acclaimed child performances I'm very frequently a skeptic, but she's very ingratiating, understated throughout most of the film but brings the house down in this one particular scene and feels very earned for it. I somewhat…
The Mako Mori test is passed if the movie has a) at least one female character b) who gets her…
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!