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Parent reviews for Whale Rider

Common Sense says

Excellent, gorgeous drama with uplifting messages.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 20 reviews
Parent of a 9 and 14 year old Written bylioness57 April 9, 2008

An absolutely beautiful movie

I checked out the Common Sense Media notes before I took my 9 year old and 5 year old to the movie. I was prepared for the opening scene with a baby and mom dying in childbirth (which happens in the opening scene) and kept checking my 5 year-old's face - it all happened so fast with alot of montage photography that it went over his head. From that point on, Whale Rider is one of the most beautiful and moving films that I have seen all year. It makes you laugh and cry. The characters are wonderful, the cinematography extraordinary. We had long discussions with my daughter afterward about the struggle to preserve native cultures and the abiilty of girls to be leaders, and the importance of pursuing your dreams even in the face of opposition - all were themes of the movie. I really can't recommend this highly enough.
Parent Written byspiritdancer June 18, 2010

A great family film.

Just watched Whale Rider for the tenth time. I just love this movie. It really inspires me, and makes me really want to make spiritual movies like that. There is one drug reference but it's so hidden that smaller kids won't notice. The only other thing is a scene where an 11 year old is smoking. But the main character deals with this and tells him he should not be smoking. For girls it's a great film about strength and courage and being true to yourself no matter what. Spiritually, it shows that there is more to life than the physical. It's just a really good film over all. Very inspiring. I've watched it many times and I am still not tired of it. I real work of art. This is the kind of film you can keep in your family collection and watch over and over again.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 9 and 14 year old Written bycookbooknic April 15, 2011

good for 9+ when in the mood to think

slow-moving but thought provoking - a very positive experience. Kids happily stuck with it through slower, sadder patches to see the ending.

This title contains:

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Positive Messages
Parent of a 10 year old Written bytammy1970 October 17, 2010

Perfect movie for the whole family

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written byzally July 17, 2010

heartfelt exploration of other cultures and universal humanity

One of our all time favourites. Watch it

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byPanya April 9, 2008

...

I didn't like the actual whale-riding part, but the rest was really great. Good themes to discuss with tweens.
Parent of a 1, 5, and 5 year old Written byKira M. November 18, 2016
My kids are still too young for this movie, I can't wait to show it to them one day! Makes me cry every time, both tears of sadness and of joy. Such a great movie with an amazing girl-power message.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written bykkurcisk February 15, 2012

Leadership Inspiration for Girls

This wonderful film is great film for family viewing, and I particularly love the positive messages for girls. Kids need to be old enough to pay attention through a movie with some subtitles. The story is based on Maori folk traditions, shot on location in New Zealand. Most of the cast are local people, not professional actors. The resulting story is inspiring on a number of fronts: first, the story itself is one of hope and redemption; also, the success of a small-budget film with a mostly unknown cast is inspiring in a completely different way.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent Written byqtnn January 11, 2009
Parent Written byKaan T. December 8, 2017

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Parent Written bymeredithm1 August 30, 2017
Adult Written byuuyaya April 9, 2008
Adult Written byinga n. November 7, 2017
Adult Written bydiagon otter April 9, 2008
Adult Written byRdinws March 31, 2019

Great film!

Beautiful film. My 8 year old loved it and we can't figure out why there is the 11+ rating from the experts. The very beginning does have the death of the mother but it is not shocking and the core of the scene is on how the father and grandfather react to the death of the mother and baby. The baby is shown as swaddled and you would not know that it had died if not for the conversation around the scene. Honestly, the plight of the whales is much more livid and disturbing at the very end but not too much for most 8 year olds. I clicked on too much swearing because there was one line that went something like if you don't say this right 'your d--k will fall off'. We got the question Mommy what's a ...... That's the troubling part for kids but it is so outweighed by the masterful tale. It is a view of a culture soon forgotten and that is the worry of the people in this film. Great juxtaposition of the modern world and the old and value of traditions and the need to change them in some ways and not in others. The main lesson is of course about gender roles and forgiveness with grace. The girl Pakai is amazing on all counts. A wonderful role model for little girls. The boys who do their best are also very good role models. Excellent film.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Language
Parent of a 10 year old Written byapcrcom November 2, 2018

Beautiful use of language

Ms 7 loved this book. Its a fantastic read for discussion with boys or girls about traditions that involve gender - in this case tribal leadership and the ostracism of girls in the inheritance of senior positions in the tribe and in legend itself. The language is exquisite - some of the passages will probably stretch even adults - the use of vocabulary is so rich. Highly recommended, particularly for young girls.

This title contains:

Positive role models