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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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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If one wants to see true acting, just watch Hollie Hunter in this film. She does more with her facial expressions than twenty actors can with a thousand words. Her stature, her presence, her determination are so intense. One could feel sorry for her in places. She has been ripped from her world for reasons we cannot fathom. She has been deemed expendable. When she arrives she expects to be treated properly. Anna Paquin as her daughter settles into the new environment and begins to prosper. But it is not without sacrifice. The piano is the symbol of what was left behind. Her affair with the Maori is partly passion, partly payment. We never know how much of each. The performances are stunning across the board and, this time, worthy of Academy Awards.
There are some very sensual scenes and scenes of great danger. There is pain inflicted and selfishness and power. Hollie Hunter rises above it all and makes her way through this quagmire (the rainy muddy jungle in this case), and arises, victorious in her own fashion.
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