• PG-13, 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Drama, Romance
  • Directed By:
    Niki Caro
    In Theaters:
    Jun 6, 2003 Limited
    On DVD:
    Oct 28, 2003
  • Palm Pictures


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Whale Rider Reviews

Page 1 of 8
Anton Bitel
Daily Info

both an effective snapshot of the challenges which modernity brings to indigenous cultures, and a neat illustration of the power of myths to adapt.

Full Review Source: Daily Info

June 11, 2013
Nell Minow
Common Sense Media

Excellent to watch and discuss as a family.

Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Original Score: 4/5

December 29, 2010
Felix Vasquez Jr.
Cinema Crazed

This is what a children's film should be like.

Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 29, 2009
Mark Halverson
Sacramento News & Review

The movie's story is a sometimes clumsy but gradually involving coming-of-age story about courage, sexism, past customs vs. contemporary social values and a community and family at odds within themselves.

Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review | Original Score: 3/5

August 7, 2008
Dennis Harvey
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Newcomer Castle-Hughes' unaffected, confident turn makes it credible our heroine might retain her determination and self-worth despite serial setbacks.

Full Review Source: Variety

July 22, 2008
Robert Davis
Paste Magazine

The third act -- where all our predictions come true -- has a quiet dignity and, although it moves from A to B as expected, how it gets there is surprisingly mysterious.

Full Review Source: Paste Magazine

June 3, 2008
David Ansen
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The filmmaker knows how to seduce an audience without making it feel had. When a movie's this likable, it would take a very tough crowd not to be pleased.

Full Review Source: Newsweek

November 1, 2007

Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Niki Caro roots her characters in a landscape equal parts mundane and boundless, incorporates tantalising sea photography and Lisa's Gerrard's ambient soundtrack, and lifts off into a sublime, Elysian ending.

Full Review Source: Time Out

January 26, 2006
Linda Cook
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

"Whale Rider" is a mystical, gentle movie that goes beyond the boundaries of the usual coming-of-age film.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4

June 3, 2005
Ethan Alter
NYC Film Critic

I can honestly say that there is not a single plot point or character arc depicted here that I have not seen a thousand times before.

Full Review Source: NYC Film Critic | Original Score: 2/5

March 5, 2005
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

...an uncommonly intelligent, well-crafted movie that -- despite the curious PG-13 rating -- parents shouldn't hesitate to see with their kids.

Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Original Score: B+

January 29, 2005
Jeffrey Overstreet
Looking Closer

The climactic revelation, when it comes, is something so ambitious that I never would have dreamed it would work convincingly. But it does.

Full Review Source: Looking Closer | Original Score: B+

December 6, 2004
Tony Medley

I was captivated and had intermittent tears in my eyes throughout this touching tale, although I would have ended it differently.

Full Review Source: tonymedley.com | Original Score: 7/10

October 7, 2004
Mark Sells
Oregon Herald

Encapsulates the grace and beauty of international cinema.

Full Review Source: Oregon Herald | Original Score: 5/5

August 13, 2004
Enrique Buchichio
Uruguay Total

No se queda en la mera descripción antropológica; es ante todo una fascinante historia sobre el coraje, la auto confianza, los vínculos familiares, las tradiciones...

Full Review Source: Uruguay Total

March 16, 2004
Louis Proyect

Stirring story of Maori culture

Full Review

March 2, 2004
Vanessa Sibbald

The key to "Whale Rider's" appeal is that the film doesn't force an opinion upon its viewers

Full Review Source: Zap2it.com | Original Score: 3.5/4

February 24, 2004
Thomas Delapa
Boulder Weekly

Young Keisha Castle-Hughes is a Down Under wonder in the lead as Pai, a spunky little Maori girl who could.

Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

February 9, 2004
Lori Hoffman
Atlantic City Weekly

'Niki Caro's striking visual images match her elegant, understated prose creating an uplifting story.'

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 30, 2004
Mark Robison
Reno Gazette-Journal

The movie is smart with its storytelling and delivers several powerful scenes.

Full Review | Original Score: A+

January 5, 2004
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