Whale Rider

Watch Whale Rider

"In the ways of the ancients she found a hope for the future."
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 1 hr 41 min
  • 7.5  (43,695)
  • 80

Whale Rider is a profoundly moving drama film directed by Niki Caro and released in 2002. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Witi Ihimaera and tells the story of a young Maori girl's journey to becoming the new Chief of her tribe. The film is set in a small coastal village in New Zealand, where the Maori people live. The story begins with the birth of twins, a boy, and a girl. The boy's arrival is celebrated, as the Maori people believe that the firstborn male is destined to be the new Chief of the tribe. However, tragedy strikes when the boy dies during childbirth, leaving the community bereft and lacking a new Chief.

Years pass, and the girl, Paikea (Keisha Castle-Hughes), is now twelve years old. Her grandfather, Koro (Rawiri Paratene), is the current Chief of the tribe, but he refuses to recognize Paikea's potential as a future leader as she is a girl. Paikea is determined to prove her worth and persuades her grandmother, Nanny Flowers (Vicky Haughton), to teach her the traditions and customs of her ancestors.

As Paikea learns more about her heritage, she discovers her spiritual connection to whales and her role as the Whale Rider, fulfilling an ancient prophecy. However, Koro remains stubborn and inflexible, refusing to recognize Paikea's potential and instead investing his time in training the young boys in the village to become leaders.

Paikea must confront the cultural barriers that prevent her from becoming the new Chief and prove to her grandfather and the tribe that she is worthy of the honor. The film takes us on a powerful journey of self-discovery, family bonds, and cultural identity, as we witness Paikea's journey towards becoming the leader her community needs.

The acting in the Whale Rider is sublime, with Keisha Castle-Hughes delivering an outstanding performance as Paikea. Her portrayal of a young girl fighting against the constraints of a patriarchal culture is both moving and inspiring, making her a memorable and relatable character. Rawiri Paratene is equally impressive as Koro, a stubborn and proud character whose rigid beliefs stand in the way of his granddaughter's potential.

The cinematography is stunning, with vast stretches of New Zealand's coastline providing a beautiful backdrop to the film. The use of traditional music and chants also adds to the authenticity and richness of the storytelling, immersing the audience in the Maori culture.

The Whale Rider is an emotional rollercoaster, tackling themes of grief, identity, and tradition, all while celebrating the strength and resilience of its female lead. The film's uplifting and hopeful message is a testament to the power of community, the importance of honoring one's heritage, and the need for inclusivity and acceptance.

Overall, the Whale Rider is a must-watch, a beautifully crafted movie that will leave you feeling deeply moved and inspired by its poignant story and powerful performances.

Whale Rider is a 2003 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 41 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 80.

Whale Rider
Where to Watch Whale Rider
Whale Rider is available to watch free on Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, Starz, The Roku Channel, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Whale Rider for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 41 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (43,695)
  • Metascore