Director: Niki Caro
Stars: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis
Far more male coming-of-age movies get made than ones looking at young women. Which makes Whale Rider all the more refreshing. Set among the Maori people in Whangara, New Zealand, Whale Rider tells the story of Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), who wants to become the leader of her tribe. Her grandfather, a member of the old guard, forbids it. He doesn't believe any woman should lead.
Castle-Hughes earned on Oscar nomination for her frank portrayal of a girl who refuses to let tradition keep her from ruling. Bow down. —RS