In 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, New York City vaudeville actress Ann Darrow has lost her job and is hired by financially troubled filmmaker Carl Denham to star in his new film. Ann signs on when she learns her favorite playwright, Jack Driscoll, is the screenwriter. As their tramp steamer, the SS Venture, makes the lengthy journey to the remote and mysterious Skull Island, Ann and Jack fall in love. Captain Englehorn begins having second thoughts about the voyage, prompted by crew speculation of trouble ahead.
In 1876, U.S. Army captain Civil War veteran Nathan Algren is traumatized by his participation in atrocities during the Indian Wars, and has become an embittered alcoholic. Algren is approached by his former commanding officer, Colonel Bagley, on behalf of Japanese businessman Omura, who wishes to hire distinguished U.S. soldiers to train the Imperial Japanese Army to suppress a samurai rebellion, led by Katsumoto Moritsugu. In exchange, Japan would ratify a lucrative trade agreement that would grant the U.S. exclusive rights to supply arms to the Japanese government. Although Algren despises Bagley for having ordered atrocities during the Indian wars, he accepts the job for the money and sails to Japan. Most of the soldiers being trained are little more than inexperienced peasants and farmers.The training is interrupted when the samurai rebels attack a railroad owned by Omura; Bagley orders the regiment to mobilize, overruling Algren's objection that the soldiers are not ready. Algren is proved correct: during a battle in a foggy forest in Yoshino Province, the undisciplined and intimidated soldiers panic and are quickly routed by the samurai horsemen. Algren kills several samurai with his revolver and saber but is eventually knocked from his horse. Algren desperately fights using a spear tipped flagstaff with a flag of a white tiger until he collapses from complete exhaustion. As he is about to be vanquished, he kills his would-be executioner with the staff's spear tip. His ferocity and refusal to surrender, as well as the image of the white tiger on the flag he is fighting with, reminds Katsumoto of a recurring dream. As a result, Algren is spared and taken captive to the rebels' village in the mountains.
A mute Scotswoman named Ada McGrath is sold by her father into marriage to a New Zealand frontiersman named Alisdair Stewart, bringing her young daughter Flora with her. The voice that the audience hears in the opening narration is "not her speaking voice, but her mind's voice". Ada has not spoken a word since she was six years old and no one, including herself, knows why. She expresses herself through her piano playing and through sign language, for which her daughter has served as the interpreter. Flora later dramatically tells two women in New Zealand that her mother has not spoken since the death of her husband who died as a result of being struck by lightning. Ada cares little for the mundane world, occupying herself for hours every day with the piano. Flora, it is later learned, is the product of a relationship with a teacher with whom Ada believed she could communicate through her mind, but who "became frightened and stopped listening," and thus left her.
The film's plot follows the story of Paikea Apirana ("Pai") In the book, her name is Kahu, short for Kahutia Te Rangi. The leader should be the first-born grandson – a direct patrilineal descendant of Paikea, aka Kahutia Te Rangi in the book, the Whale Rider – he who rode on top of a whale from Hawaiki. However, Pai is female and technically cannot inherit the leadership. While her grandfather, Koro, later forms an affectionate bond with his granddaughter, carrying her to school every day on his bicycle, he also condemns her and blames her for conflicts happening within the tribe. At one point Paikea decides to leave with her father because her grandfather is mistreating her. However she finds that she cannot bear to leave the sea as the whale seems to be calling her back, she tells her father to turn the car back and returns home. Pai's father refuses to assume traditional leadership; instead he moves to Germany to pursue a career as an artist. Pai herself is interested in the leadership, learning traditional songs and dances, but is given little encouragement by her grandfather. Pai feels that she can become the leader, although there's no precedent for a woman to do so, and is determined to succeed.
In 1990, architect Frank Bannister loses his wife Debra in a car accident. He gives up his profession, letting his unfinished "dream house" sit incomplete for years. Following the accident, Frank gains the power to see ghosts and befriends three: 1970s gangster Cyrus, 1950s nerd Stuart, and the Judge, a gunslinger from the Old West. The ghosts haunt houses in the area to generate work for Frank's ghostbusting business; Frank then "exorcises" the houses for a fee. Most locals see him as a con man.
Abandonné par sa mère, trimballé de foyer en foyer, Ricky Baker, un jeune délinquant, est placé par les services sociaux dans une famille d'accueil, des fermiers sans enfants, les Faulkner. Ricky sympathise avec « tante » Bella, une femme aimante qui lui offre notamment un chien pour ses 13 ans qu'il nomme Tupac en référence à son chanteur préféré Tupac Shakur ou qui lui apprend à chasser, mais il n'a aucun rapport amical avec son mari, Huc, un homme solitaire et acariâtre.
In the 19th century, a warrior named Yang (Jang Dong-gun) is ordered to kill the last member of an enemy clan—a baby. He refuses the mission and flees with the child to a dilapidated town in the American West. Despite his attempts, his master closes in on him and he must fight to protect the child and his newfound comrades: Ron (Geoffrey Rush), the town drunk, and Lynne (Kate Bosworth), both of whom have a tragic past.
The year is 1984. Alamein/"Boy" is an 11-year-old boy who lives in Waihau Bay, in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand, on a small farm with his grandmother, little brother Rocky, and several other cousins. Boy spends his time dreaming of Michael Jackson and his estranged father, Alamein, who has since left him and Rocky. Boy continually creates stories about his father such as him escaping prison and taking him to see Michael Jackson live. Even though Boy continues to believe this, his classmates never believe him anyway, which starts a fight between him and another classmate, Kingi, and his older brother Holden. When Boy's grandmother leaves for a funeral one day, she leaves Boy in charge of the house and his brother and cousins; Boy is then surprised to see his father and two other men arrive at the farm.
A young Henry Oldfield (Nick Fenton) lives on a sheep farm in New Zealand, with his father and older brother, Angus. After witnessing his father's pride on Henry's natural ability at farming, Angus plays a cruel prank on him involving the bloody corpse of his pet sheep, just moments before Mrs. Mac, the farm's housekeeper, comes to tell the boys that their father has been killed in an accident. The combined shock of these two incidents leads Henry to develop a crippling phobia of sheep.
In 1950s Christchurch, New Zealand, a 14-year-old girl from a working-class family, Pauline Parker (Lynskey), befriends the more affluent English 15-year-old Juliet Hulme (Winslet) when Juliet transfers to Pauline's school. They bond over a shared history of severe childhood disease and isolating hospitalizations, and over time develop an intense friendship. Pauline admires Juliet's outspoken arrogance and beauty. Together they paint, write stories, make Plasticine figurines, and eventually create a fantasy kingdom called Borovnia. It is the setting of the adventure novels they write together, which they hope to have published and eventually made into films in Hollywood. Over time it begins to be as real to them as the real world. Pauline's relationship with her mother, Honora, becomes increasingly hostile and the two fight constantly. This angry atmosphere is in contrast to the peaceful intellectual life Juliet shares with her family. Pauline spends most of her time at the Hulmes', where she feels accepted. Juliet introduces Pauline to the idea of "the Fourth World", a Heaven without Christians where music and art are celebrated. Juliet believes she will go there when she dies. Certain actors and musicians are "saints" in this afterlife.
The Dark Horse is based on the real-life story of Genesis Potini, a brilliant, New Zealand chess player who suffered from severe bipolar disorder. Despite the challenges that came his way, Potini pushed forward to find his purpose in life by passing on his knowledge of chess to the community.
All remaining reserves of petroleum have finally run out; forcing people to ration the few remaining containers of gasoline left on the earth against mercenaries and warlords. Straker and his men (accompanied by his daughter Corlie - played by Annie McEnroe) find a vast supply of diesel fuel in a compound once thought to be radioactive. When Corlie refuses to execute the previous owners, she runs away from base camp. Hunter (Michael Beck), on his amazing (possibly ex-future-military) motorcycle, rescues the girl and takes her to his farm. After keeping her on the farm on a temporary basis, Hunter sends her off to live in a walled city (known in-film as Clearwater Farm) governed by a strict old-fashioned democracy (similar to the Quakers) where she is quickly accepted by the community. However, she is soon discovered by the mercenaries commanded by her father, Colonel Straker (James Wainwright), who moves to attack the Clearwater community. In the chaos that ensues, Corlie manages to escape back to Hunter's remote hideout. Straker terrorises the residents of Clearwater, taking their weapons, medicines, and other supplies and handing the women over to his men.
Beth left her small town and, despite her parents' disapproval, married Jake "the Muss" Heke. After 18 years they live in an unkempt state house in an unnamed New Zealand city and have five children. Their interpretations of life and being Māori are tested. Their eldest daughter, Grace, keeps a journal in which she chronicles events as well as stories she tells her younger siblings.
In the Northland town of Kaitaia in Spring 1978, nineteen-year-old Gerry Austin (Kelly Johnson) opportunistically steals a wallet accidentally dropped by a wealthy woman named Lesley Morris. Finding cash and her driver's licence inside it, he uses them to rent a yellow Mini from Hertz. With no particular aim in mind, he drifts down to Auckland. Meanwhile, in Auckland, the middle-aged John (Tony Barry), has just had Sue, his girlfriend of six years, walk out on him and fly home to Invercargill. After a night on the bottle, John decides to go down to Invercargill.
Lily (Loren Horsley), a shy, wistful girl, is a songwriter when no one is listening. She works as a cashier at a fast food restaurant and has a crush from afar on Jarrod (Jemaine Clement), a geek who works in a video game store. Jarrod is more interested in Lily's workmate, Jenny (Chelsie Preston Crayford). With Jenny not at work one day, Jarrod gives Lily an invitation to his "dress as your favourite animal" party to pass along to her, but Jenny crumples it up and throws it away upon receiving it. Lily retrieves it from the rubbish.