Nominated for Best Actress; Keisha Castle Hughes
This is a fantastic movie; a legend of the Maori people told in today’s time. My whole family watched it, and even my dad was into it. (If you can get my dad to be interested in a fable about indigenous New Zealanders, you’ve done something special.)
The movie tells the story of a young girl Paikea, who comes into the world through adversity, and sees more of it. Because of circumstances, she lives with her grandparents, and while both love Paikea, her grandfather is tied to the old ways. First among these old ways is the notion that girls can’t be Chiefs, which doesn’t sit well with Paikea.
The tale is very simple, at times very heart-breaking, and very uplifting. The movie doesn’t go for special effects, and the magic-realism aspect is hidden until it’s upon you without your knowledge. The family relationships are true-to-life yet aching as well. And the ending will make you want to dance.
It’s a bit jarring at first to see all these “brown” people speak with such a pronounced New Zealand accent, but you’ll get over that. I can’t imagine any family not enjoying this, and that includes everyone from 8 to 80. It’s rare to find a movie of that range. The main reason to see this film, though, is for Keisha Castle-Hughes, at 13 the youngest Best Actress nominee ever. Mark my words: this girl is a star waiting to happen.