DVD 120 mins IMDB 7.3 (14,659 votes)
R
The Piano
Miramax (1993)
In Collection
#218

My Rating:
7

Seen It:
Yes
(2005 )
Drama, Romance
Australia  /  English

Holly Hunter Ada McGrath
Harvey Keitel George Baines
Sam Neill Stewart
Anna Paquin Flora McGrath
Kerry Walker Aunt Morag
Genevieve Lemon Nessie
Susie Figgis Flora's Grandfather
Te Whatanui Skimworth Chief Nihe
Tungia Baker Hira
Cliff Curtis Mana
Geneviève Lemon Nessie (as Genevieve Lemon)
Ian Mune Reverend
Peter Dennett Head Seaman
Te Whatanui Skipwith Chief Nihe
Pete Smith Hone
Bruce Allpress Blind Piano Tuner
Carla Rupuha Heni (Mission Girl)
Mahina Tunui Mere (Mission Girl)

Director Jane Campion
Producer Jan Chapman
Writer Jane Campion
Cinematography Stuart Dryburgh
Musician Michael Nyman
User Credit 1 Veronika Jenet
User Credit 2 Janet Patterson

Writer/director Jane Campion's third feature unearthed emotional undercurrents and churning intensity in the story of a mute woman's rebellion in the recently colonized New Zealand wilderness of Victorian times. Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), a mute who has willed herself not to speak, and her strong-willed young daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) find themselves in the New Zealand wilderness, with Ada the imported bride of dullard land-grabber Stewart (Sam Neill). Ada immediately takes a dislike to Stewart when he refuses to carry her beloved piano home with them. But Stewart makes a deal with his overseer George Baines (Harvey Keitel) to take the piano off his hands. Attracted to Ada, Baines agrees to return the piano in exchange for a series of piano lessons that become a series of increasingly charged sexual encounters. As pent-up emotions of rage and desire swirl around all three characters, the savage wilderness begins to consume the tiny European enclave. Campion imbues her tale with an over-ripe tactility and a murky, poetic undertow that betray the characters' confined yet overpowering emotions: Ada's buried sensuality, Baines' hidden tenderness, and Stewart's suppressed anger and violence. The story unfolds like a Greek tragedy of the Outback, complete with a Greek chorus of Maori tribesmen and a blithely uncaring natural environment that envelops the characters like an additional player. Campion directs with discreet detachment, observing one character through the glances and squints of another as they peer through wooden slats, airy curtains, and the spaces between a character's fingers. She makes the film immediate and urgent by implicating the audience in characters' gazes. And she guides Hunter to a revelatory performance of silent film majesty. Relying on expressive glances and using body language to convey her soulful depths, Hunter became a modern Lillian Gish and won an Oscar for her performance, as did Paquin and Campion for her screenplay. Campion achieved something rare in contemporary cinema: a poetry of expression told in the form of an off-center melodrama. — Paul Brenner

Edition Details
Barcode 012236046202
Region Region
Chapters 36
Release Date 1/20/1998
Packaging Snap Case
Screen Ratio Widescreen 1.85:1 Color
Audio Tracks ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC]
Layers Single Side, Single Layer
No. of Disks/Tapes 1

Features
Digitally Mastered
Interactive Menus
Scene Acess
Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes
Cast & Crew Information
Personal Details
User Lookup 1 DVD Copy
Links All Movie Guide
IMDB
DVD Empire
Amazon US

Notes
Trivia: Holly Hunter played most of the piano sequences herself. (more)

Goofs: Continuity: When the boat leaves the island, Ada trails her hand in the water, which is still and calm. On long shots, it is foaming from the action of the oars, and the boat on the water. (more)

Quotes:
Flora: Actually, to tell you the whole truth, Mother says that most people speak rubbish, and it's not worth it to listen.
Aunt Morag: Well, that is a strong opinion.
Flora: Aye. It's unholy.
(more)

Awards: Won 3 Oscars. Another 49 wins & 26 nominations (more)