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4.1 out of 5 stars111
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Showing 11-20 of 71 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on April 17, 2001
People seem to either love or hate this film, which is understandable because it wants to be approached on an emotional level more than an intellectual one. My boyfriend complained that none of the characters were compelling enough to care about, whereas I could see that the central character is, indeed, the piano and how everything revolves around its voice -- Ada's voice. Listening to her voice, being moved by it, is the key to the entire film.
One of the several engaging themes is that of who is on center stage at any given time. Count the number of times someone is watching someone else: Baines watching Ada play her piano on the beach, actors in a play looking through curtain eyeholes at the audience, the natives in the audience watching the play and believing the actors to be "real", Stewart looking through gaps in the planks to see his wife with another man, Flora watching Stewart attempt to destroy his wife's voice. (Interestingly, this is an assault not on the piano itself but on something more fundamental. And those who believe that Ada's gift of the piano key to Baines is a major faux pas perhaps don't realize that he will know exactly what that white key means though he can't read the words burned into it.)
The disturbing moments, and there are several, are entirely about the piano's (Ada's) voice and how these men attempt to either restrict or manipulate it to get what they want -- one endangering her sense of self while simultaneously using and liberating her, the other denying her self-expression while trying to be her protector and "a good man".
It's a very fine movie for those of a mind to listen.
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on July 17, 2000
I was delighted to finally pick up this DVD after having seen this film several years ago. What I remembered most about this work was that it put me into a reflective mood for several weeks.
This film is likely to have you thinking about what things and people are most important in your life, what priorities do you put on them, and how living for what you truly want is the best way to live.
Ada arrives with her daughter on the beach in New Zealand. She has brought all kinds of things that are grossly impractical in the jungle like environment...one thing is her piano. Even though Ada is mute, we hear her thoughts via voice over and via her playing of the piano.
Ada is forced through the cirucumstances of her life to question what sort of relationship will make her happy -- that of her new spouse, a perfectly polite and supportive gentleman, and that of a rogue Harvey Keitel, one who goes to great lengths to prostitute Ada's need to express herself via her piano.
A strong performance by all, including Ada's daughter.
Eventually Ada makes her choice and leaves the audience wandering if they have made their choices appropriately.
This is a DVD worth owning, not one to rent. I would characterize this as a chick flick, but not one full of relationship talk -- after all, the main character is mute.
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on February 15, 2000
"That Piano" was definitely one of the best films of 1993. The performances from the cast were spellbinding. Holly Hunter certainly deserved the Best Actress Ocsar she earned for this performance. It was a while since l had seen her really fit a character like a glove since her role in 1987 as a slightly cuckoo network television producer in "Broadcast News". Even though she doesn't speak a work throughout the entire movie, l got every emotion from her hands, face and her playing of the piano. Not many people know that Holly Hunter actually did a portion of her own piano playing in the film. Not all of it was done by the composer, Michael Nyman. Which leads my into the film's dramatic score which was both haunting and dream-like. Another point l would also like to make is that director Jane Campion is the first and only woman-director to be nominated for an Academy Award for this film. That is quite the feat in itself if you ask me. Newcomer Anna Paquin is mesmorizing as the young daughter who finds out about her mother's extra cirricular activities, if you know what l mean. Anna Paquin would go one to win the Oscar for best supporting actress at only the tender age of 11. Wow ! I highly recommend this tale of love, sex, betrayal and consequences.
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on January 2, 2003
The Piano is truly a hypnotic film. It takes you away to a bleak, desolate New Zealand island where Ada McGrath, a shy woman who stopped speaking at the age of six is getting off a boat to meet her soon-to-be husband Stewart, arranged by her father, with her daughter Flora. Ada communicates through Flora, who can talk. Ada uses her old family piano as a way to express her feelings, and she needs it to remain calm and stable. The men could not get the piano up to Stewart's house, which frustated Ada immensly. Stewart's neighbor George Baines then brings it to his house after much of Ada's pleading and lets Ada play it in exchange for sexual favors.
This is an extremely intriguing, beautiful, unique romantic drama that all interested in film should definitely check out. It is one of my all time favorite movies.
The Piano
Directed by Jane Campion
Starring Holly Hunter, Ann Paquin, Harvey Keitel, and Sam Neill
Rated R for moments of extremely graphic sexuality
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on June 9, 1999
Campion's subtle drama about a young mute woman (Hunter) who is given a arranged marriage to New Zealand farmer (Neill) translates into an extraordinary personal story about love, communication from a woman's point of view. Hunter's beloved piano is the centre point of the film and symbolises the relationships between the characters. Like nearly all art house productions, its the acid test of how deep a person you really are, how you understand and are moved by the subtle undertones and friction between the characters like those seen in Visconti's equally brilliant "Death in Venice" and Hugh Hudson's "Chariots of Fire". The music fits the film perfectly and heightens the emotion, but the real stars are the actors, Kietel, Hunter and of course the young Paquin giving the performances of their carreers. Beautiful photography and locations add to the mystic.
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on September 16, 2002
I have watched this movie at least a half dozen times since it's release and I am not tired of it yet. I am not an art house movie fan, but this one will either grab you by the throat and mesmerize you or it will totally turn you off. It is that strong a movie that there are no neutral reactions. My husband, who normally sleeps through my movies (even Schindler's List for God's sake!) could not sleep through this one. I have force fed it to a number of friends and the reaction is either gut-wrenching identifucation with the characters, or turning away in anger or disgust. By all means see it and judge for yourself, but don't plan on on easy movie experience. It is allegorical, romantic and harsh and beautiful and lovely to listen to and Holly Hunter considers it some of her best work. So do I.
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on June 15, 2001
A temperamental, mute German (?) woman travels to remote New Zealand with her daughter and her beloved piano for an arranged marriage. She has problems adjusting to her new surroundings, possibly because her husband refuses to carry her piano, her sole means of communication, from the shore to their new house. A neighbor offers to bring it up, in return for some lesons, and a love triangle develops....
This movie has a very original story line, good characters, and very good acting that bring up the best in the movie. The soundtrack is terrific, and combines very well with this movie since this is Ada's voice and her only way to express herself, even if she is miosunderstood by the surrounding society. This movie is especially worth watching for all music lovers out there!
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on July 3, 2013
I initially bought this movie because of all the awards it received. I was not disappointed! The acting was superb -the scenery was beautiful-and the story showed that love will win out! This movie was definitely adult-oriented but not offensive aqs is often the case.
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on January 31, 2002
What a complete masterpiece of film art! I just saw this for the first time in a film class I'm taking. While I wish I saw it in a high-end theater, the letterboxed DVD and high-end projection system presented it very beautifully. I'm also glad I did not see it at a younger age in '93 as this would have been more difficult for me to artistically absorb. I feel sorry for anyone who sees it for the first time on a little TV with the sides of the picture cut off. The cinematography is truly wonderful. The set design, make-up, costumes and casting were exquisite, as well. The [...love] scenes look like a live recreation of an actual Michelangelo painting. The story, acting, and...Well everything is just lovely. High art.
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on April 27, 2000
Few films of the 90's come close to this one. It stars Holly Hunter in a performance which earned her the Oscar and the Best Actress prize at Cannes among many other awards. It is the story of a self imposed mute who moves to New Zealand with her small daughter to marry a landowner. Baines, a neighbor, becomes infatuated with Ada and after obtaining Ada's beloved piano, her only means of communications, he promises to give it back in exchange for sexual favors. The film is very intelligent and never exploitive. The performances are top notch, from Sam Neill to Harvey Keitel to Academy Award winner Anna Paquin, who gives one of the best performances when it comes to a child's acting.
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