Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. An overwrought, hollowly symbolic glob of glutinous nonsense... I haven't seen a sillier film about a woman and a piano since John Huston's "The Unforgiven" (1960), a Western in which Lillian Gish had her piano carried out into the front yard so she could play Mozart to pacify attacking Indians. [13 Dec 1993]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 31
  2. Negative: 7 out of 31
  1. Jan 30, 2012
    Beautiful, moving, original, visually poignant, excellent music, fantastic acting performances. One of my favourite movies. I am puzzled by the negative reviews, perhaps it might not suit someone with very conservative tastes, expecting a tame story of a piano student, etc. Full Review »
  2. Feb 24, 2011
    Innovating and influential masterpiece - Jane Campion's third feature film after her feature film debut "Sweetie" (1989) and "An Angel at my Table" (1990) tells the story of Ada McGrath and her daughter Flora who once upon a time in the 1850s moves from Nelson, Australia to New Zealand where they are to start a new life with Ada's predetermined husband, a landowner called Alistair Stewart. Jane Campion's Palme d'Or winner from 1993 is a versatile character study seen from the main characters point of view and told through her wordless though definite expressions. With acute and subtle camera movements, long takes and picturesque close ups, New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion compassionately examines the complexities in the relationship between man and woman and creates a mysterious, erotic and imaginative period drama about a woman's affectionate relation to her piano and her contradicting strive for independence while being captured in an arranged marriage.

    This international co-production between New Zealand, Australia and France which was exclusively shoot in New Zealand and produced by Australian Jan Chapman is an innovating and influential masterpiece formed by the mythical milieu depictions, the weighty and various moods, the linear narrative, Jane Campion's emphatic screenplay, Stuart Dryburgh's majestic photography, Janet Patterson's noticeable costume design, Andrew McAlpine's production design and Michael Nyman's sterling score, which acutely conveys the main characters passionate inner life. Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel and Anna Paquin delivers memorable performances in this poetic and romantic fairytale lead by Holly Hunter who's internal and gesticulating interpretation of a mute character is one of the most outstanding performances in modern cinema.
    Full Review »
  3. MattG
    Aug 15, 2009
    Haunting, beautiful, poetic, unforgettable. Holly Hunter gives one of the greatest performances of all time, and this is my personal favorite movie of all time. Full Review »