7.6/10
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243 user 83 critic

The Piano (1993)

A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

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Writer:

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2,207 ( 164)

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ON DISC
Won 3 Oscars. Another 57 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ada
...
...
...
Kerry Walker ...
Aunt Morag
Geneviève Lemon ...
Nessie (as Genevieve Lemon)
Tungia Baker ...
Hira
...
Reverend
Peter Dennett ...
Head Seaman
Te Whatanui Skipwith ...
Chief Nihe
Pete Smith ...
Hone
...
Blind Piano Tuner
...
Mana
Carla Rupuha ...
Heni (Mission Girl)
Mahina Tunui ...
Mere (Mission Girl)
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Storyline

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 <ptd@ccadfa.cc.adfa.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for moments of extremely graphic sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

11 February 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Piano  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,301,338 (UK) (10 December 1993)

Gross:

$40,158,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Dolby 5.1)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ada: 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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Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Censored (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

All Imperfect Things
Michael Nyman
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hopefully the nadir of antipodean film
7 August 2000 | by (London) – See all my reviews

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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