7.6/10
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258 user 83 critic

The Piano (1993)

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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.

Director:

Jane Campion

Writer:

Jane Campion
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Popularity
2,624 ( 213)
Won 3 Oscars. Another 60 wins & 56 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Holly Hunter ... Ada
Harvey Keitel ... Baines
Sam Neill ... Stewart
Anna Paquin ... Flora
Kerry Walker Kerry Walker ... Aunt Morag
Geneviève Lemon Geneviève Lemon ... Nessie (as Genevieve Lemon)
Tungia Baker Tungia Baker ... Hira
Ian Mune ... Reverend
Peter Dennett Peter Dennett ... Head Seaman
Te Whatanui Skipwith Te Whatanui Skipwith ... Chief Nihe
Pete Smith ... Hone
Bruce Allpress ... Blind Piano Tuner
Cliff Curtis ... Mana
Carla Rupuha Carla Rupuha ... Heni (Mission Girl)
Mahina Tunui Mahina Tunui ... Mere (Mission Girl)
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Storyline

It is the mid-nineteenth century. Ada cannot speak and she 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 neighbor, 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Release Date:

11 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Piano See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$40,158,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby (Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

We never learn who Flora's illegitimate father is in the film. It was revealed in Campion's novelization of the film, that it was Ada's former piano teacher. See more »

Goofs

Ada writes a note to George on a piano key, but earlier George had told her that he can't read. 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

Referenced in Boomers: Episode #1.4 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Heart Asks Pleasure First/The Promise
Michael Nyman
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I have to disagree
31 January 1999 | by Doug-96See all my reviews

All of my friends think this is a great film, but I find it to be one of the most over-rated films of the 1990's.

'The Piano' is completely lacking in subtlety -- normally a quality a filmmaker wants in a film that is attempting (in this case, committing) symbolism. It hits the audience over the head with its 'meaning'.

And what does it mean? That a man wins a woman's love by treating her horribly and exploiting her mercilessly? That's exactly what happens in this film. Furthermore, Ada is a thoroughly inscrutable and unlikeable character.

I cheered when she was almost drowned, too bad she was rescued . . but even the beautiful cinematography and good cast can't rescue this over-wrought and over-rated film.

Also: did anyone notice that Baines is repeatedly depicted as uneducated and illiterate, but yet Ada writes to him (on a piano key of all things). And the annoying music Ada plays on the piano (and we hear over and over on the soundtrack) is out of place in a film set in the nineteenth century.


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