A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.
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It is the mid-nineteenth century. Ada is a mute who has a young daughter, Flora. In an arranged marriage she leaves her native Scotland accompanied by her daughter and her beloved piano. Life in the rugged forests of New Zealand's North Island is not all she may have imagined and nor is her relationship with her new husband Stewart. She suffers torment and loss when Stewart sells her piano to a neighbour, George. Ada learns from George that she may earn back her piano by giving him piano lessons, but only with certain other conditions attached. At first Ada despises George but slowly their relationship is transformed and this propels them into a dire situation. Written by
Patrick Dominick <email@example.com>
Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in November 1997. See more »
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. See more »
The voice you hear is not my speaking voice - -but my mind's voice. I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why - -not even me. My father says it is a dark talent, and the day I take it into my head to stop breathing will be my last. Today he married me to a man I have not yet met. Soon my daughter and I shall join him in his own country. My husband writes that my muteness does not bother him - and hark this! He says, "God loves dumb creatures, so why not I?" '...
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This is one of my all-time favorite films. It combines masterful scripting, cinematography, performances, and musical score into a disturbing, erotic, and ultimately uplifting piece. The movie's heroine, wonderfully portrayed by Holly Hunter, is mute (symbolic of the fact that she has no say in her own life), with her daughter (the astonishing Anna Paquin) and her piano as her personal obsessions. Her conscripted husband, coldly played by Sam Neill, is trying to win her heart and her desire in all the wrong ways, while his crude tribal neighbor, sensually played by Harvey Keitel, understands her needs and ultimately captures her ... physically, intellectually, and romantically. The film's message and its delivery are extraordinarily powerful, the cinematic technique is rich ... the sequence shot with Hunt, Pacquin, Keitel and the piano on the beach is one of the best pieces of work I've ever seen. Lasting impact.
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