This movie must not be watched in the ordinary way one would watch any other movie. If you're just going to watch it in a literal way, this isn't the movie for you. The Piano is a wonderous combination of music, scenery and symbolism. It's like a dream sequence. The movie feels almost enchanted. The filming of 2 major scenes of violence is exquisite. I didn't notice the violence itself so much as I felt the pain of the characters.
I highly recommend this film...no matter how many times I watch it, it never fails to move me.
The plot could be seen as a simple love triangle, between the mute woman Ada (Holly Hunter), her husband of an arranged marrage (Sam Neil) and her slightly gruff and seclusive neighbor (Harvey Keitel).
It is much more than that, it is also a story about Ada's love for her Piano. The love for her tool to speak. The way her neighbor George Bains understands this love and her husband does not.
The casting for the movie is perfect. Holly Hunter does not speak, nor does she cry and wail when she is angry or sad. She simply FEELS, and we can easily see what she is feeling without her showing us. Her Academy Award was well deserved.
Anna Paquin, who also recieved an Academy Award for her performance as Ada's mischivous but angleic daughter, is brilliant. Sam Neil's charachter is not as developed as some of the others. But the sadness seen in his eyes makes you wonder what bad things have happened to him in tha past, for you can tell by how easily he gets frusterated with Ada that something else has happened.
Harvey Keitel has played a difficult character, because he makes a very crude offer to Ada concerning how she can get her Piano back. Written on a peice of paper, George Bains would seem like a perverted creep...but Keitel plays his character with warmth, and immediatly you know that Bains knows what he is doing, and you trust him.