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Based on 31 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 0 )
  • 88
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    A film of female empowerment that resonates deeply. show more

  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    By the end, a sense settles in that Whale Rider could have accomplished as much -- and been considerably more powerful -- as a 25- minute short. show more

  • 88
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    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. show more

  • 90
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    Seduces us with its leisurely pace and felicitous details into believing that something miraculous is afoot in a mundane rural community. show more

  • 88
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    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. show more

  • 75
    Jami Bernard New York Daily News

    Pai is resourceful and in harmony with the natural world in a way that will charm and enthrall young viewers. show more

  • 80
    Sheri Linden The Hollywood Reporter

    The film boasts a terrific newcomer in the lead role, exquisite widescreen photography and a powerful sense of place. show more

  • 100
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    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. show more

  • 88
    Mark Caro Chicago Tribune

    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. show more

  • 88
    Lawrence Toppman Charlotte Observer

    You can say nothing of Castle-Hughes except that she's already a movie star: The camera loves her and we do, too. show more

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