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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different Look At Romance
All the things that characterize a Hollywood romance are turned upside down and changed about in this film. The usual fare is the interactions between two urbanites with huge polished smiles stuck to their faces. They enter a relationship which is loud, giddy, and giggly.
In The Piano, the woman doesn't speak at all and both men are stoic sorts who have lived in a...
Published on May 30 2004 by Shaun Williams

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Five star film - two star DVD (transfer)
I just got my copy from Amazon and what a disappointment. The Piano is one of my favorite films and living in Quebec I had a hard time finding the widescreen version of the film. Imagine my joy to find it, finally, here on Amazon. However, having got it, and looked at it, I realize that the picture is a scan from one of the theatrical copies - it is full of dust (black...
Published on March 19 2004 by Mangostan


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Five star film - two star DVD (transfer), March 19 2004
By 
Mangostan (Quebec CanaDA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
I just got my copy from Amazon and what a disappointment. The Piano is one of my favorite films and living in Quebec I had a hard time finding the widescreen version of the film. Imagine my joy to find it, finally, here on Amazon. However, having got it, and looked at it, I realize that the picture is a scan from one of the theatrical copies - it is full of dust (black specks that appear all over the image. In a day and age where even the cheapest DVD's are cleaned in post-production it is an outrage to see such a beautiful film with dust all over it. I wish they'd do another transfer from the original negative. Furthermore the widescreen - although considered wide is actually a 3:4 image letterboxed - it is not a real 16:9 widescreen transfer - meaning that you will have a lot fewer lines of image than you would have if it had been transferred anamorphic - For DVD lovers this is really a disappointment - and only 2.0 surround. If you love the film enough to live with these disappointments - I actually do - get the film. If you prefer pristine images and great sound - you'll be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different Look At Romance, May 30 2004
By 
Shaun Williams (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
All the things that characterize a Hollywood romance are turned upside down and changed about in this film. The usual fare is the interactions between two urbanites with huge polished smiles stuck to their faces. They enter a relationship which is loud, giddy, and giggly.
In The Piano, the woman doesn't speak at all and both men are stoic sorts who have lived in a hard land. A lot happens under the surface where we can only guess at it. In mainstream films, the emphasis for the man is rushing in and grabbing the woman of his dreams with all possible speed.
But here, just once, the quiet, patient, and tender man emerges with the lady. And what's more, when we first see him, we fail to see through his hard exterior. Even the viewer comes to know this man's virtue only over time.
I found this to be an incredibly beautiful story and as if that alone wasn't good enough, I also greatly enjoyed the cinematography and the music. This is one of those films that I find guilty of being incredibly good on all counts.
And a final note about male nudity: Yes it is in this film. Both male and female are seen completely nude. And there's nothing wrong with the male part. We men have beautiful bodies too. Art of the past has had no compunctions about showing nude males and correctly so. I'm not sure I can understand this modern prudery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words cannot convey..., March 17 2004
By 
Susan J. Keenan "aladriel84" (Cumberland, RI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
Words cannot convey...and this is one of the things this incredible movie teaches us. The Piano is one of my favorite movies of all time. The scenery is breathtaking. Holly Hunter is brilliant as Ada, the mute (by choice) "victim" of an arranged marriage. Her facial expressions and physical movements express more than words could ever say. In fact, I found that once I become aware of watching her gestures, I began watching the expressions of other characters in the movie also. Harvey Kietel is cast in a very different role for him and the result is impressive and shows a much larger range of his acting ability. The music in the film is beautiful and is Ada's true "voice".
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Looks Could Kill, March 15 2004
By 
This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
THE PIANO is a very unusual, enigmatic and haunting film. To say anything less would be incredulous. It is a story set in some remote coastal hills of a very bleak eighteenth century New Zealand overrun by dense jungle, mud, the elements and crude natives. Ada (Holly Hunter) and her young mischievously meddlesome daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) arrive on the New Zealand beach to meet Stewart (Sam Neill) whom has arranged to marry Ada. Ada, as we discover in the prolog is a woman who has not spoken since she was 6 years old. She is not only mute but strangely introverted and repressed. A piano, which Ada has brought with her, is her only means of expression. The ex-seaman ex-whaler Baines (Harvey Keitel) is a rather crude looking character who becomes enchanted by Ada's piano, which has been left on the beach. He retrieves it, buys it and then has Ada barter for its return setting the conflict of personalities and their repressed feelings into motion. Ada's mute playing of the piano is juxtaposed by her piercing dark eyes focusing from her face shrouded in ever so pale white skin. Her looks are riveting and disturbing. The image of Paquin's face is unnerving. As the film progresses we see that the primary characters are truly misunderstood from what our initial impressions had ascertained them to be. This is an exceptional film that you have to watch and listen to closely because of its very subtle nature that envelops your senses. The characters and the actors that portray them are brilliantly presented. Stuart Dryburgh's cinematography is equally important because the images on the screen take on a life and spirit of their own in this haunting film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ethereal...simply breathtaking!!!, Sept. 6 2003
By 
"funky511" (Stockton, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
warning: watching this movie will put you in a dreamlike and emotionally charged and effected state for hours after you watch it, for me it was days.
I have never seen a movie that has had such a profound effect on the people who view it, myself included. It is not the kind of emotional experiance where you cry throughout the movie. It is the kind that makes you gasp and keeps you motionless.
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.
The real supporting cast would also have to be the cinematography and the music. Both contribute an intensity to the film that is priceless.
A Tip: watch this movie at night or when you have a whole day off, it will alter your mood for the day.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Creative Artists in a Bad Soap-Opera, May 3 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
What went wrong with this film? Everyone involved has done brilliant work before and after this production, yet when they combined all their talent together they ended up with a movie that steamrolled the creator's statement over the characters and their actions.
None of the characters act in any sense other than to be moved as pieces on the gameboard for the writer in an attempt to say "something." What that something is is obviously supposed to make us sympathize with Hunter's character, but she is drawn as such a cartoon (a boorish, manipulative cartoon at that), one can never feel anything for her other than wonder why she is ruining everyone else's life around her? Perhaps for the kicks? It would certainly seen so, as she has no reason to even be in the film except as to create unhappiness for all the other characters.
If one wants a film dealing with the ability for the human spirit to rise upon inprisonment, there are many, many, MANY better films than this one. One can only leave this movie feeling cold and depressed because it never is more than cardboardish, hateful characters doing terrible things to each other (including a clumsy attempted-rape sequence) until the out of the blue "happy" ending that seemed tacked on to help the bitter pill be easily to swallow by American audiences.
Shallow and desperate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly Beautiful, Dec 17 2003
By 
This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
"The Piano" stars Holly Hunter, Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel, and Anna Paquin. It received several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Its brilliant quality proves that every nomination was deserved. The plot of a mute woman, Ada, whose only form of expression is through her piano was written beautifully. Jane Campion's Oscar winning efforts express her highly creative outlook in film. It combines drama, mystery, and romance. Many twists and turns arise as Ada falls in love with a mysterious man not her husband. The movie's gloomy theme blends perfectly with every event; past, present, or future. It reminds the audience of the danger that certain characters are in, regardless of what they say or do. The cinematography and the editing wonderfully contribute to this effect.
The art design proves that the artists researched the European styles of the 1800's. Every detail is flawless. The costumes were equally wonderfully crafted. Every detail on the set contributes to the movie plot, adding its necessary theme.
Every actor performs their roles beautifully. Holly Hunter's Best Actress Oscar winning role, Ada, was highly emotional. Only one other performer has won the Oscar for a lead role for playing a mute person(Marlee Matlin, 1986). She never holds back a drop of heart and soul through her character. Her task of expressing her character's emotions through only non-verbal means is highly difficult. She mastered it. This is her best role in her career. Anna Paquin's Best Supporting Actress Oscar winning role, Ada's daughter Flora, is amazing. This made her the second youngest Oscar winner for acting efforts(age 11). No words can describe how amazing and how underrated she is. Her European accent is as flawless as her acting. Harvey Keitel offers his own mystery theme in his Oscar nominated role as Ada's gothic non-husband lover. Sam Neill's role as Ada's wife is brilliant. His character's rage scenes are perfect. All other actors, major or minor, also perform their roles wonderfully.
"The Piano" offers an amazing roller coaster ride, though some scenes may become highly depressing. Those looking for a power drama should watch this movie. This offers high emotions that forces the audience to feel what that characters are feeling. Many viewers will be entertained throughout. Some may have to watch this movie multiple times to fully understand the events thoroughly. Many have watched this ten times, and they continue to discover new, interesting details. "The Piano" will be a classic in the upcoming years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem, July 30 2003
By 
Andreas Naujoks "Chileno" (Kempten) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
I just can't believe that some people call this movie "porn" - GET A LIFE!!!
Though it sometimes has a low-budget feeling to it - probably because it is - this movie is heart-rending, and I'm usually not into this kind of thing.
A Scottish woman (Holly Hunter) stops speaking for no reason we ever get to know (nor where her precocious daughter [Anna Paquin] comes from), and is married off by her family to a New Zealand farmer (Sam Neill). After a tough journey she arrives in a strange land, and the only thing that matters to her besides her daughter is her piano, which allows her to express her feelings. But her woodheaded husband leaves it on the beach.
Their neighbour Baines, always suspicious for his good relations with the Maori and his tattoos, is fascinated by her, buys the piano off her master, and asks her for piano lessons.
While her husband plumply tries "to possess" her, Baines wants to touch her in exchange for parts of her piano. She acquiesces, and falls for this strange man who adores her.
The actors, the direction, the music are simply outstanding, and if The Piano hadn't been released in the same year as Schindler's List, it certainly would have gained more Oscars.
Just the end will have you discuss for ages - does she die dreaming or does she dream of dying?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Good!, Jan. 29 2003
By 
BookMania (Stafford, TX, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
This is a hauntingly somber movie, and that's precisely why I enjoyed it so much. This movie contained the entire package that, when delivered, evokes a reaction that is sure to stay with the viewer long after the end credits are shown.
In the style of the classic novel "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, this movie is the story of a single mother named Ada (Holly Hunter) who comes to New Zealand with her daughter, Flora (Anna Paquin), in order to meet a local farmer named Stewart (Sam Neill) who has arranged to marry her. They come with their belongings, none more sentimentally valuable than Ada's piano. However, reasoning that it is Ada's duty to make sacrifices in the interest of the family, Stewart trades the piano to a neighbor named Baines (Harvey Keitel) for the rights to some farming land. Little does Stewart realize that Baines knows exactly how precious this piano is to Ada, and he makes this trade in an attempt to make a play on her affections. Stewart arranges for Ada to go over to Baines' house and teach him to play the very piano that belonged to her. Ada and Baines work out an arrangement where in lieu of teaching Baines how to play the paino, she will instead play the piano for him and allow him to use her in order to fulfill his carnal fantasies. In exchange, Baines will eventually give the piano back to Ada. As time goes by, Ada goes as far as sleeping with Baines in order to work off the debt she owes him for her piano, but after a while, Ada's trysts with Baines are no longer for the sake of earning her piano back, but are voluntary. She develops feelings for Baines, much to the chagrin of her husband, who locks Ada and Flora up in their house in order to prevent them from going to Baines' house.
There were some brilliant performances in this movie. Though Anna Paquin's character only plays a small part in moving the story along, her screen presence is extraordinary. She was one of the youngest actors to ever win the Academy Award, and her Oscar was much deserved. Holly Hunter also won an Oscar for this movie, and it, too, was well deserved, especially considering the fact that she didn't utter a single word for the entire movie. The strength of her performance relied solely on her acting ability, and could not be assisted with the influence that there voice might have carried. Of the males in this movie, Harvey Keitel does a sold job as a rather homely farmer, but the real credit must go to Sam Neill as Ada's husband. The tantrums that he throws are very realistic and incredibly compelling.
Also worthy of mention is the movie's incredible art direction and cinematography. The entire movie takes place in a gloomy beachfront and forest. The lack of sunshine and sheer dismalness complements the haunting performances and plot.
I would have given the movie a 5 star rating, but I wasn't satisfied with the ending. Though I won't tell you which of the two men Ada ends up choosing, it's my opinion that both men were scummy, and neither deserved her. But you can draw your own conclusion. This is an excellent movie, and I highly recommend seeing it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect PIANO Piece, Jan. 25 2003
By 
Nickolas Mann (Bowie, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] (DVD)
One of the best movies I have ever seen is Jane Campion's The Piano. Holly Hunter plays a mute mail-to-order bride who, along with her daughter(played by young Anna Paquin), travels to New Zealand to meet her new husband Stewart, played by Sam Neill. Her one love is her Piano, but she must leave it behind, for it was to heavy to get to her new house. Later Stewart trades the piano for some land to a man nearby Baines, played by Harvey Keitel. Ada is to give him lessons. At first she detests the idea, as she has everything since she moves to the island. But Baines makes her an offer that she can't refuse; she can get her beloved piano back. It is then that we watch Ada's soul awaken as she spends time with Baines. Her daughter Flora is like her best friend, but Flora will innocently betray her mother, which will lead to a dramatic climax.
Even though Holly Hunter few lines are voice-overs, this is her finest performance ever, winning her the Best Actress Oscar for 1993. Anna Paquin also takes an Oscar for Best Suporting Actress. The film also won an Oscar for Jane Campion's screen play, and was nominated for Best Picture of the year as well as several others. Sam Neill and Harvey Keitel were equally impressive for their roles as well. Michael Nyman's music is beautiful with its lovely saxophone melodies and a piano theme song that Hunter actually plays.
It is perfect in many ways and is a movie that should be in everyones well-rounded and complete video library. It is one of those movies that you will want to watch at night all snug in your bed with some popcorn. If your thinking of buying this movie; do. It is just that good. A+++
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The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import]
The Piano (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import] by Jane Campion (DVD - 1998)
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