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The Piano

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New Zealand, Australia, France · 1993
Rated R · 2h 1m
Director Jane Campion
Starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin
Genre Drama, Romance

After a long voyage, pianist Ada McGrath and her young daughter are left with all their belongings, including a piano, on a New Zealand beach. Ada, who has been mute since childhood, has been sold into marriage to a local man named Alisdair. Ada soon becomes intrigued by his Maori-friendly acquaintance, leading to life-altering conflicts.

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What are people saying?

Melanie Greenberg Profile picture for Melanie Greenberg

Everything about this movie, the costumes, the settings, and the actors work together so seamlessly to create this emotional drama.

Chichi Tsai Profile picture for Chichi Tsai

Lush, wild, and achingly romantic. A deeply stirring drama about love, passion, and eroticism.

What are critics saying?


Christian Science Monitor by David Sterritt

Although the action tends to become melodramatic and even overwrought at times, the imaginative power of Campion's images and emotional insights (especially with regard to the heroin) rarely allow the story to seem artificial or exaggerated. [12 Nov 1993]


Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

"Sweetie" and "An Angel at My Table" have taught us to expect startling as well as beautiful things from Jane Campion, and this assured and provocative third feature offers yet another lush parable--albeit a bit more calculated and commercially minded--about the perils and paradoxes of female self-expression.


Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

In Jan Campion's The Piano, the emotions are deep, fierce, primordial. Sexuality overwhelms the film's characters like ocean waves blasting against a cliffside. [19 Nov 1993]


USA Today by Mike Clark

Campion's script is very well received, but the film finally makes it on cinematics: bleakly beautiful photography, haunting score, and good acting. [12 Nov 1993]


Time by Richard Corliss

Campion has spun a fable as potently romantic as a Bronte tale. But The Piano is also deeply cinematic. [22 Nov 1993]


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Rick Groen

Great art is both immediately accessible and eternally elusive, having at its centre a powerful simplicity that speaks to anyone who cares to listen, that rewards every interpretation while embracing none. The Piano is great art.

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