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The Piano [Blu-ray]
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The story centers around Ada (Holly Hunter in an Oscar-winning performance) and her daughter, Flora (Anna Paquin--who also won an Oscar for her extraordinary performance). They leave their upper-class home in Scotland after Ada's father (apparently) arranges her marriage. Ada, who has willed herself not to speak since age 6, expresses herself through her beloved piano.
The true story of who fathered Flora is never revealed in the movie, but the context suggests that she is Ada's illegimate child born from an illicit affair. The hinted-at story of Flora's conception provides a key to understanding both why Ada later begins an affair with her New Zealand neighbor Baines (Harvey Keitel) and why she makes a mail-order marriage in the first place. I suspect that Ada's aging father may have wanted to see her settled--preferably far away so that her unconventional behavior would no longer be a source of social embarassment--and given Ada's muteness and out-of-wedlock child, her father probably couldn't find a suitable suitor in mid-Victorian Scotland.Read more ›
And Harvey Keitel - who knew? Those gangster/tough guy roles just don't even touch this man's talent. George Baines is intense, tender, passionate, a total jerk - so it would seem - but underneath the gruff exterior lies the heart of a prince. Keitel really puts it all out there, literally and figuratively. It's a risky role and it works for him.
Holly Hunter was spectacular, as usual, but in this film the fast-talking, high-energy woman you came to know in "Broadcast News" or "Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom" must dig deep. Ada's silences surpass powerful, she conveys more with her facial expressions than most people say out loud in a lifetime. Speech is clearly an overrated and overused form of communication. Ada's will is almost a character onto itself. And one can see clearly that no one is more surprised by her emerging emotions and unfolding events than she.
Sam Neill's character is sad, broken, pathetic, frightening, and your basic worst nightmare all at once. Jealousy is indeed and ugly and and devastating emotion.
I disagree with a few of the other reviewers about Anna Paquin's character, Flora. Some saw Flora as innocent. Watch closely. She's diabolical, almost schizophrenic.Read more ›
Many reviewers have given a plot synopsis but I want to talk about the way the piano itself is used in the movie. It is a beautiful instrument and from the start of the movie we can see that Ada loves it. We soon see why she is so attached to it--it is literally her voice since she has not spoken since the age of 6. When she and her daughter are dumped on the shores of New Zealand, her new husband refuses to acknowlege her need to have the piano with her. He leaves it behind despite her pleas that they take it rather than her clothes or household goods. There is a very poingnanant scene with Ada standing on a cliff and looking out to the beach at the piano with such longing in her eyes. It is clear she is leaving a part of herself behind--perhaps the most important part and yet her oaf of a husband completely misses it.
It is Bains, the neighbor and friend of Ada's husband who finally grasps the significance of the piano. At Ada's insistance, he takes her and her daughter back to the beach so she can play her beloved piano and 'speak' for the first time in days. You can see by the way her face lightens from the harsh mask it has been through most of the movie so far how much this means to Ada. She actually smiles and her movments lose their stiffness and become flowing as she lets the music move through her, saying things impossible to express through words. Bains displays a quality here that Ada's husband has little of--patience.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A piece of crap. Unpleasant. Best actress? Are you kidding? Smacking a hand and looking miserable should not be sufficient. Read morePublished 14 days ago by CSR
One of the memorable movies of our time. Truly unique. Well worth watching repeatedly.Published 15 days ago by KBG
Guys get ready for a very long slow drawn out action less movie. The lover doesn't defend his maidens honor..one of the most painful chick flicks i got talked into watching.Published 20 days ago by Amazon Customer
is a great book- and very good movie! Harvey Keitel and Holly Hinter very good!Published 1 month ago by LoriM. Thomas
"The Piano" is one of the richest movies I've ever seen. But to really appreciate it, you must see it more than once. Read morePublished 1 month ago by N. Y. Richardson
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