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Whale Rider

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.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

88

Philadelphia Inquirer by Carrie Rickey

The rhythms of Whale Rider are hypnotic as the ebb tide, haunting as the song of the humpback sea mammal, bracing as the ocean spray. It's a movie that rewards the patient viewer.
88

USA Today by Claudia Puig

Caro gives the fablesque story -- based on a 1,000-year-old Maori legend -- both a contemporary and timeless quality, anchored by newcomer Castle-Hughes' powerful and haunting performance.
75

Miami Herald by Connie Ogle

There is magic here, enough to make Whale Rider worthy of the audience-choice awards it has earned at film festivals worldwide.
88

Chicago Tribune by Mark Caro

One may gripe that the tale at times seems familiar, yet that familiarity is also part of the movie's power: Here's a story from halfway around the world that somehow connects with the hearts of viewers of almost any culture.
100

Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

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.

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