I've grown tired of the highly commercial family/children's movies that Hollywood has been pumping out. The last film that attracted my attention was The Secret of Roan Innish. The Whale Rider joins this movie as a really great story.

It's a slow moving, but rewarding story of a young girl who is trying to fulfil her destiny as the leader of the Maori people. Keisha Castle-Hughes plays Pai, the young girl who survived her twin brother's death and is not allowed to forget it. She is raised by her grandparents, Koro and Nanny.

Koro is the chief of the tribe, but he does not believe in Pai. Pai is desperate to have her grandfather's love and acceptance and tries to mold herself into whatever he wants her to be. But Koro doesn't want Pai, he wants a boy to be the next chief and the boys left in the tribe have not been raised by strong fathers and lack the leadership qualities Koro is looking for.

As the tribe faces its uncertain future and the pressures of the surrounding cultures, it's Pai that emerges. A great story, especially for young girls (8+ years ?)

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