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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
2,030 ( 253)
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

Holly Hunter won fourteen awards of the fifteen nominations she received for her role in this movie. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 Charlie Rose: Quentin Tarantino (1994) 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

 
Acting with the face
9 March 2006 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

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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