Once Were Warriors Film review for an assignment. Tell me what you think

My english teacher gave us an assignment on reviewing a film of our choice. As you can tell I chose Once Were Warriors. I only just saw it for the first time in about 4-5 years last week, I was only little when I first saw so I didn't really understand it, but its one of my favorite movies. For this assignment we had to tell the film's plot, cast, characters, what we like about it and what we don't like about it. We also had to include quotes. Tell me what you think.

Once Were Warriors was filmed in New Zealand in 1994.
It's about a typical Māori family, the Hekes: The father Jake, Mother Beth, oldest son Nig, 2nd oldest son Mark or Boogie as he is most know, oldest daughter Grace, 2nd oldest daughter Polly and youngest son Huata.

Nig is the tough guy. He lifts weights all the time and is involved in a gang.

Boogie is a nice kid, but tends to get into trouble a lot.

Grace is the smart one of the family; She write stories to escape her violent life and shares them with her best friend, Toot, who lives an old wreck of a car.

Nig, Boogy, Grace, Polly and Huata are brought up in home of domestic violence and alcohol. Jake spends most of his time at the pub with his friends Bully and Dooley, and after losing his job at a seafood stand he spends even more time at the pub. Bully has a reputation of a "player", he routinely sleeps with different women almost every night. Almost every night Jake and Beth's friends come over to their house for "drunken parties". The 1st party we see in the film, Jake and Beth are fine, they're getting along and even sing a song together. Nig asks Beth for some money, she is drunk by this time, and says "Money? what do you want money for? You got everything you need here. You got booze, food" Beth says she's not drunk, and that shes happy, Nig says shes off her face and she slaps him across the face, quickly apologizes and tries to find some money, but Nig is out the door.
Bully asks Beth to cook him some eggs but she just yells "F**K OFF", Jake asks whats going on and demands that Beth cook Bully some eggs, she takes the carton out of the fridge and says to Jake "You want eggs? Well have the bloody lot of" as she throws eggs to the floor. Jake punches her in the face, she falls to the floor. "I'M JUST A F*****G SLAVE AROUND HERE JAKE". At that time everyone starts running out the door while Jake is beating the life out off Beth.

Boogie is dew in court the next day for theft, Beth promised to be there with him, but because of the state she's in she just can't go, so instead Grace goes to court with Boogie. Boogie is unfortunately sent away to welfare.

While Boogie is at court Beth is speaking to her best friend Mavis - Who I might add is a really good singer - about the night before, when Jake beat her up.

In the meantime Nig is trying to get into a local gang, he just wants a traditional Māori tattoo covering the left side of his face. He is seen by Jake at the pub later that day with the tattoo and Jake just makes fun of him.

Jake wins money from the horse racing and he and Beth use it to rent a car and go and visit Boogie. On the way they stop near the place Beth grew up, a small, traditional Māori town. She left because her parents didn't approve of Jake, but she loved him too much to stay where her family hated him.
They continue driving, Jake stops at the pub to show his friends the car and ends up keeping the family waiting in the parking lot. Beth goes in and demands that Jake give her the keys. "F**k off. Take a bloody taxi". Beth tells the kids to get out of the car and over to the taxi stand, Grace asks what for, Beth says that they're going home, Grace gets mad and tells Beth that she hates her and Jake.

That night Jake invites his friends over for another "drunken party", Beth refuses to join the party so she stays in her room. Grace comes out to get a glass of water, when Bully asks for a "kiss goodnight". "Your growing up fast girl". At the end of the night everyone is drunk and past out. Bully sneaks into Grace's room, wakes her up and rapes her. "Its our secret ok Gracie? You hear me girl? Keep your mouth shut".
Grace was just 13 years old.

The next morning Beth wakes up and finds Grace in the bathroom washing her nighty and bed sheets. "Wet the bed again bub? You should've left I'd would've done it". Grace says Beth doesn't care about any of her kids, Beth says it isn't true and that she loves them all. She picks up Grace's nighty and thinks she got her period.

Grace spends the day with Toot in his car smoking dope, she stays til late at night, until Toot tries to give her a kiss, "Your just like everyone else around here", Toot tries to apologize but it's too late, Grace is off and running home. "Your just a stupid kid who lives in an old wreck of a car".

Beth is out driving with Mavis looking for Grace until past eleven. Grace comes home to an angry Jake. Bully again asks Grace for a "kiss goodnight", but this time she doesn't give him one. Jake throws Grace to the floor, tears her book of stories in half and tries to hurt her but is stopped by Dooley, "No man. Shes just a kid". Grace walks outside and is alone.

Beth comes home, asks Jake where Grace is, "She p****d off out the back". Beth runs outside and finds that Grace has hung herself. The next day Beth rings her auntie and tells her about Grace's suicide and that she wants to bring her home to Beth's birth place. Jake refuses the idea and threatens to kill Beth, but she tells him to get out.

Instead of going to Grace's funeral Jake is at the pub getting drunk, as usual. He asks Bully and Dooley if he was too hard on Grace, Dooley said it must've been something else, Bully just keeps quiet.

The next day after dinner Beth sticky tapes Grace's book back together and is about to read the others one of Grace's stories, but flips to a page where Grace has written about the rape.

Beth and the kids goe to the pub, only Beth and Nig go in to confront Bully. "Women and children eh? You f*****g coward"."It was your bloody mate here who handed her the rope". "You animal. You raped a 13 year old girl and sit here drinking with her father". "Shes off her f*****g head man". Nig hands Jake the book so he can see for himself that its true, after he finishes reading Bully tries to run off but Jake catches him, smacks his head into a window, punches him in the face and brakes a steel chair over him. Bully is bleeding nearly everywhere.
Beth and Nig leave the pub. Jake follows them out and Beth tells him she's leaving and taking the kids with her. "I've found something better Jake and I'm gonna make damn sure my kids have it all".

LIKES
I like how Once Were Warriors teaches teenagers that if they've been through this or something similar to tell someone about it. I like how Beth wasn't weak towards Jake and always stood up for herself, even if it did mean getting the living daylights beaten out of her. I liked how the kids always looked out for each other. I particularly like that its a New Zealand film, you don't many New Zealand films around, I'm not talking about movies that were filmed in New Zealand like Lord Of The Rings, I mean films like this one and Whale Rider.

DISLIKES
I didn't like how violent it was. It reminded me of someone, so did all the alcohol. I thought maybe there could've been more of Nig in it. I hated the way Jake treated Beth, you don't treat someone you love like that.

That took forever. I know your all probably thinking "If you didn't like the abuse and alcohol, why did you review this film?", I chose this film because its different, everyone else in my class are doing movies like Juno, Wall E, Epic Movie, Prom Night and The Simpsons. Don't get me wrong, I like those movies, but I wanted to do something different from everybody else. My teacher is even making us show the film we chose to the class if we have a copy or if the school has a copy. Yea, like she'll let us watch Once Were Warriors after she reads this lol. Please tell me what you, if it needs more detail or if its all good.
Posted on October 10th, 2008 at 03:37am

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