Whale Rider - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Whale Rider Reviews

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Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star
June 26, 2003
It's best that we don't consider what might become of Pai if this poor, unloved girl didn't happen to be the chosen one.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Jeremy Heilman
June 2, 2003
[It] tries for a somber tone that it can't maintain, partly because the cute protagonist conveys no gravity and partly because it's too frequently going for laughs or stupid melodramatic crises.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
August 1, 2003
Keisha Castle-Hughes gives a natural performance that is heartwarming and memorable.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
June 3, 2003
Caro strives to poeticize the native sea legends (the lovely underwater whale footage is, alas, all digital), but the aboriginal hoopla comes off as tribal ritual for its own sake.
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
June 5, 2003
A portentous coming-of-age saga that weighs as much as the venerated ocean mammals at its center.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
June 27, 2003
[The story] is so simple that the audience gets ahead of it from the beginning.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Jurgen Fauth
October 8, 2003
There's nothing wrong with a formula film per se, but when it's done as shallowly as here, I feel insulted.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Ryan Cracknell
Movie Views
August 4, 2003
Once destiny is introduced into the story it deflates any sense of suspense.
Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine
October 16, 2003
Caro seems less concerned with evoking the economic or socio-political baggage bringing the film's characters down than she is with telling the same sappy tale of patriarchal perseverance we've seen so many times before.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Frank Swietek
One Guy's Opinion
June 7, 2003
Has its heart in the right place, and in Castle-Hughes it boasts a young protagonist of charm and energy; it's just a pity the rest of the film isn't quite worthy of her.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
June 26, 2003
Refuses to get its toes wet, instead retreating into goody-goody fantasy.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
June 27, 2003
The film is closer to a feminist tract. And, like all propaganda, it wants to do all of your thinking for you.
| Original Score: 3/5
Marty Mapes
Movie Habit
July 2, 2003
An excellent first performance can't balance na´ve writing and direction
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Ethan Alter
NYC Film Critic
March 5, 2005
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 | Original Score: 2/5
Annlee Ellingson
Boxoffice Magazine
March 10, 2003
An exquisite film that sensitively captures the noble spirit of [the New Zealanders] -- and their humor.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
January 29, 2005
...an uncommonly intelligent, well-crafted movie that -- despite the curious PG-13 rating -- parents shouldn't hesitate to see with their kids.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Stephen Himes
Film Snobs
September 14, 2003
More rich and substantive than "Bend It Like Beckham."
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 20, 2003
The genius of the movie is the way is sidesteps all of the obvious cliches of the underlying story and makes itself fresh, observant, tough and genuinely moving.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
June 3, 2003
The story itself is richly rewarding and uplifting -- the coming-of-age tale of a girl who must defy the odds to achieve her goals.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
June 27, 2003
Whale Rider is one of those book-me -a-ticket yesterday movies.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Jennie Kermode
Movie Gurus
November 9, 2011

February 28, 2003

Baltimore Sun
June 27, 2003
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