Whale Rider (2003)

 Rated G, just like this movie should have been.

Whale Rider

Niki Caro was making only her 2nd movie when she wrote and directed Whale Rider, so she showed the world her skills really early on. This sweet story aimed directly at kids (despite its absurd PG rating) is all about an ordinary (yet also magical) girl from New Zealand who loves her grandfather to pieces, but the maddening gramps is a slave to the patriarchy and blames his granddaughter for every problem in the village. It takes him so very long to realize that…she’s The One. Keisha Castle-Hughes made her debut here and she is tremendous, as are all the key players in the cast. This remains a delightful and emotional motion picture all these years later, even if Rawiri Paratene’s cruel grandpa is hard to like for almost the entire running time. The word “hate” was thrown around. Anyway, don’t sulk in bed because life threw a few rocks your way. Just curl up with the 416th Ellises’ Analysis and accept (and for the love of Paikea return) the love offered to you by the awesomest people in your life, whether they can ride a whale or not.

Well, Actually: We changed our schedule between the recording of this episode and the recording of the next one (which will be Minari), so that’s why there’s no Coming Attractions Trivia question. Also, Jackie Cooper was an even-younger Best Actor nominee in 1931 than Keisha Castle-Hughes was a Best Actress nominee in 2003. Also also, Koro has a whale’s tooth necklace, not a a shark’s tooth necklace.

When you’re up all night trying to un-beach a bunch of whales, you should buy heaps of Sparkplug Coffee. They’ll even provide you a 20% discount on your next order. Use our promo code (“top100project”) and a-saving you will do.

Twitter time: @moviefiend51 and @bevellisellis

If you like sports flicks, Ryan talks about them on Scoring At The Movies


Rotten Tomatoes reviews

AFI’s Top 100 Lists

2003 U.S. Box Office

2003 in film

2003 Academy Award winners & nominees

Links to: The Lord Of The Rings and North Country and Mulan and The Piano and The Matrix

Previously on The Ellises’ Analysis: The Fisher King

November 22nd on The Ellises’ Analysis: Minari