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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pianos of the period portrayed in the film were made almost entirely of wood, no metal framing at all, and the piano would therefore float, not sink. 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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The Piano is the prime, shining example of how a film may win great critical acclaim by combining a politically correct theme with an esoteric subject matter, despite having almost no other redeeming features. With the single exception of the rather beautiful (and genuinely allegorical) opening image of the Piano itself, sitting incongruously on a New Zealand beach, the film has nothing new, challenging or remotely entertaining (heaven forbid!) to offer. Holly Hunter's heroine's silence is a ludicrously contrived conceit, presumedly invented by Campion to force down her unfortunate audience's throats the notion that the most eloquent form of communication in this film is through music; I think we could have worked that out without it being so unsubtly pinpointed. As for the actual plot - well, it creaks and groans with so many improbabilities, anachronisms and eye-rollingly obvious symbolic gestures that this viewer was left puzzling, mouth agape, that even the most sympathetic critic could consider it anything better than embarrassing. I know it won universal acclaim at the time and remains a favourite for many, but the reasons remain entirely beyond me. It deserves 1 point for the image mentioned above, but no more.
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