Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 182 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 100
    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.
  2. Seduces us with its leisurely pace and felicitous details into believing that something miraculous is afoot in a mundane rural community.
  3. 89
    Castle-Hughes and Paratene are nothing short of remarkable in their roles.
  4. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    While Whale Rider is a doozy of a female-empowerment fantasy, it’s mercifully free of any feminist smugness.
  5. 80
    Writer-director Niki Caro, who adapted the screenplay from the novel, has crafted a script replete with both crowd-pleasing touches and subtle but powerful insights into all the characters.
  6. Pai is resourceful and in harmony with the natural world in a way that will charm and enthrall young viewers.
  7. Like the film, Pai's character is muddily conceived and ill-focused, but the coltish, tremulously delicate Castle-Hughes is a hypnotic camera subject.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 98
  2. Negative: 22 out of 98
  1. NorbertO.
    Sep 7, 2005
    I have never seen one and the same movie more than twice in the theatre before. But Whale Rider changed my mind. It really is a magnificent masterpiece and sureley made for the whole family. I watched it 7 times in the cinema and i am into it still today. Niki Caro was so lucky to find and choose this natural Keisha Castle Hughes. Very, very impressive the whole story and the actors and actresses. Everybody who really understand the plot of Whale Rider can't give less then 9 rating...! Expand
  2. IsaacI.
    May 19, 2007
    A very moving and spiritual film, I feel sorry for the people who gave it a 0 or a 2, they are probably used to the killing and shooting in movies and not entitled to understand a movie which deserves a standing ovation. Expand
  3. Anonymous
    Apr 26, 2009
    I absolutely loved this movie, and thought it was a great drama. I cried my eyes out towards the end. So to you, "retroboy" who says this movie was "crap" and that those of us who enjoyed it need to get a life, I say that you need to use more punctuation and learn to spell, because it looks like a ten-year-old wrote your review. Expand
  4. Nov 10, 2013
    "Whale Rider" has an emotional and powerful story. The acting of young Keisha Castle-Hughes was great, in fact, the acting of the entire cast was fantastic. The only problem with this film is that, because the film doesn't give you much background of New Zealand cultures, and if you don't know much about it, you will be slightly puzzled in some places. Expand
  5. MichaelG.
    Feb 15, 2010
    Mediocre at best. Dull, lifeless acting by all but Keisha Castle-Hughes, borderline amateur. Overused character archetypes, up to its ankles in cliches and has more plot holes then a Steven Seagal action flick. It tries desperately to be a feel good movie but by the end I was scooping my eyeballs out with a spoon, because it was far more entertaining. Collapse
  6. Patty.P.
    Oct 17, 2004
    This movie sucked, it was boring and it dragged on for ages. dont rent or buy this movie. i give it 0 out of 10, it was crap.
  7. Mar 27, 2014
    This movie is a bubbling cauldron of whale urine. The acting is putrid, the story nauseating, and the cinematography mundane, unless you like lots of underwater shots of people slowly drifting around with voiceovers playing in the background. In fact, I made an account specifically so I could come and issue the warning that Roger Ebert and his fellow critics wouldn't. STAY AWAY! Expand

See all 98 User Reviews