Whale Rider

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Released 2003

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Director:
Niki Caro
Released:
2003
Rating:
PG-13

Whale Rider is a 2002 New Zealand film starring Keisha Castle-Hughes and based on the novel of the same name by Witi Ihimaera. The film centers around a Maori tribe facing troubling times when their long-standing tradition of young men inheriting the role of Chief is threatened when the only successor to the title is a twelve-year-old girl intent on proving herself a capable leader despite her sex. Castle-Hughes plays Pai, whose soon-to-be-born brother stood to inherit the role of the village's Chief. However, complications arise during childbirth and Pai's mother and new brother both tragically die. Now, Pai is the only heir to the throne in a village that has only ever had male chiefs. Pai is the descendant of Paikea, a legendary figure known for riding on top of a whale. As the village decides how to proceed with their village's leadership, Pai trains herself to follow in her ancestor's footsteps. Whale Rider is an inspiring tale of a brave young girl who must fight to to fulfill her destiny amidst the resistance of the men in her village.

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    Themes

    gender roles, parent and child, child stars, Coming of Age, Social Issues