User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 89 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 89
  2. Negative: 10 out of 89
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  1. Oct 25, 2014
    5
    Jane Campion likes the grotesque. In most of her movies some characters are always distinctively weird in looks and behavior. The Piano is no exception. Main character Ada, played ferociously by Holly Hunter, is a bit of freak. Stubborn and self-contained she “decided” to remain silent from age six and never spoke a word since. Her inconsistent behavior creates all sorts of trouble toJane Campion likes the grotesque. In most of her movies some characters are always distinctively weird in looks and behavior. The Piano is no exception. Main character Ada, played ferociously by Holly Hunter, is a bit of freak. Stubborn and self-contained she “decided” to remain silent from age six and never spoke a word since. Her inconsistent behavior creates all sorts of trouble to those around her, inclusive of unloved "husband" Alisdair, obnoxious daughter Flora and reluctant lover George.

    Some beautiful landscapes and hunting music hardly make up for the fact that most of the movie is shot in claustrophobic and dark rain forest and three out of four main characters are creepily weird.
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  2. Sep 21, 2013
    10
    just excellent, i loved it, now i know it is my favorite movie: including actors, designers, musicians and producers, the director Jane Campion too. Michael Nyman is one of the must recognized composers of the world.
  3. Apr 6, 2012
    7
    Although I know it is now a classic; I was never able to see it as a great film; yet it is not because there are not the elements for it to be a masterpiece but somehow, to me, little by litthe the movie loses its initial attractiveness. It is not that I lack aeshetic sensibility; on the opposite; it is just that overall, this movie didn't transmit enough for it. Its strenght, in myAlthough I know it is now a classic; I was never able to see it as a great film; yet it is not because there are not the elements for it to be a masterpiece but somehow, to me, little by litthe the movie loses its initial attractiveness. It is not that I lack aeshetic sensibility; on the opposite; it is just that overall, this movie didn't transmit enough for it. Its strenght, in my opinion, does not always reside in the storyline. The performances were fantastic, the photography luscious! I am glad I watched it...not sure if I would do it again...probably I will one day for I am curious to know how I experience it this time. Expand
  4. Jan 30, 2012
    10
    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.
  5. Feb 24, 2011
    10
    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 AlistairInnovating 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.
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  6. MattG
    Aug 15, 2009
    10
    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.
  7. neezyk.
    Jul 29, 2007
    10
    Perfect!
  8. Lucia
    Jul 10, 2007
    10
    A lush film with excruciating attention to photography including shadows. Attention is drawn to the sounds and visuals like some amazing artist has waved a wand and you can't get your eyes off the trail of light left in the air. You care about all the characters. I do wish a little more attention had been paid to the aboriginal tribe that co-habited the area - there was a mystique A lush film with excruciating attention to photography including shadows. Attention is drawn to the sounds and visuals like some amazing artist has waved a wand and you can't get your eyes off the trail of light left in the air. You care about all the characters. I do wish a little more attention had been paid to the aboriginal tribe that co-habited the area - there was a mystique about them as well as everything and everyone else. The film is in a word, beautiful. Expand
  9. DrRhythm
    May 30, 2007
    1
    Possibly the worst film I have ever seen and certainly the closest I have ever come to walking out of a cinema. It's appalling junk that has attracted an extraordinary amount of what I call "Emperor's New Clothes" reviewing. Given it a 1 because it's well shot but otherwise it gets a fat zero - horrible!
  10. antoñete
    Dec 28, 2006
    10
    Perfect movie!!!! I love this!!!!! The music, the cinematography, Holly, Anna Paquin... The script itself, the poetic images... I can't forget this movie.
  11. sohyunw.
    Nov 12, 2006
    4
    If you play piano, put this one on the bottom of your list to watch. However, it is nice to watch on a rainy day, but don't go out of your way. Some parts were quite cheezy and I didn't like the weird, erotic scenes. I would rather see Amadeus for the 43rd time or watch my sisters play piano gracefully without words. Acting by Anna is superb. The rest of the cast... too boring If you play piano, put this one on the bottom of your list to watch. However, it is nice to watch on a rainy day, but don't go out of your way. Some parts were quite cheezy and I didn't like the weird, erotic scenes. I would rather see Amadeus for the 43rd time or watch my sisters play piano gracefully without words. Acting by Anna is superb. The rest of the cast... too boring and familiar. Expand
  12. neezyk.
    Sep 24, 2005
    10
    Perfect!
  13. RyanB.
    Sep 19, 2005
    9
    An amazing piece supported with an amazinbg acting team. Anna Paquin, wow! Holly Hunter, perfect! Sam Neil, intense. A well told story show some serious and emotional issuse in a time of uncertainty in early New Zealand. Michael Nymans score truly became Ada's voice.
  14. AmberH.
    Sep 19, 2005
    1
    I missed the finger chop bit, so i dont understand it, and it took forever to tell the story.
  15. LeeD.
    Jun 23, 2005
    10
    Astonishing.
  16. KyleA.
    Dec 22, 2004
    10
    Beautiful...
  17. LouisD.
    Oct 16, 2004
    10
    Really good.
  18. TomS.
    Feb 27, 2004
    10
    Wonderful film, to all those detractors out there, you have absolutely no understanding of classic film.
  19. SamClendon
    Feb 27, 2004
    10
    Powerful, evocative, amazing.
  20. PatC.
    Jan 7, 2004
    4
    Way too much hoity-toity hand wringing. Very little of it stayed with me.
  21. JT
    Oct 28, 2003
    0
    I've always hated this movie. I never understood how a film where the heroine falls in love with a man who is sexually harassing her can be described as beautiful and a true representation of the human spirit.
  22. YoonC.
    Sep 24, 2003
    3
    A spinsterish feminist fantasy for dweebs and flakes. It turns a sexually repressed scenario into a fetish, something like an artsy-fartsy adaptation of a subpar romance novel . It's one thing to do it straight and show injustice of past social relationships; it's another to turn it into orgasmic martyrdom where even a woman getting her pinkie lopped off is charged with strained A spinsterish feminist fantasy for dweebs and flakes. It turns a sexually repressed scenario into a fetish, something like an artsy-fartsy adaptation of a subpar romance novel . It's one thing to do it straight and show injustice of past social relationships; it's another to turn it into orgasmic martyrdom where even a woman getting her pinkie lopped off is charged with strained orgiastic delight. Pinkie = clitoris? Wouldn't it have been better and more honest for Campion and her feminist fans to just read some dumb romance novel where the heroine gets abducted by a pirate and get humped? I'm sure it's more honest masturbatory material. Usually fine Holly Hunter's career took a well-deserved nosedive from here. Expand
  23. TheElusivePossom
    May 6, 2003
    10
    This well-established classic has in general recieved some rave reviews, and it's easy to see why. There's the odd pissant on this site who seems to view otherwise, but despite their opinions, "The Piano" flourishes in its own limelight. The characters supplied by Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel and that woman that plays Ada form a complex, erotically charged love triangle that is This well-established classic has in general recieved some rave reviews, and it's easy to see why. There's the odd pissant on this site who seems to view otherwise, but despite their opinions, "The Piano" flourishes in its own limelight. The characters supplied by Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel and that woman that plays Ada form a complex, erotically charged love triangle that is dramatic, tense and evocative. The soundtrack for the film is the best of any film heard to date, and the aspects of the film appealing to intelligent intellects is truly vindicative of the palpatations. To summarise, this film is a MUST-SEE, and its obvious that the people who have seen and do not like it are interlectually inequipt... Expand
  24. OctavianS.
    Apr 15, 2003
    7
    There are 3 good actors and they're making the movie. Not magnificent but good enough.
  25. ChristiaanS.
    Oct 25, 2002
    9
    THE SCENE: Montreal, Winter of 1993. Bikes locked up outside the theatre. Snowbanks up to here! Maybe it was the company that night, but The Piano is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful films I have even seen. It's going on nine years since that night, and the music continues to resonate. Truly a joy for the eyes and the ears. And by the way, I want to ask Craig U. (who posted THE SCENE: Montreal, Winter of 1993. Bikes locked up outside the theatre. Snowbanks up to here! Maybe it was the company that night, but The Piano is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful films I have even seen. It's going on nine years since that night, and the music continues to resonate. Truly a joy for the eyes and the ears. And by the way, I want to ask Craig U. (who posted what appears to be the first comment above) what the hell he was doing in an art gallery in the first place! Did he get lost? Zivijo, Christiaan. Expand
  26. CraigU.
    Sep 2, 2002
    0
    My mother borrowed it from the library, and I came over to watch it also. We both expected a good movie based on how high it was rated by the critics. The longer it played on the DVD, the more we kept glancing at each other with puzzled looks. The movie just gets weirder & weirder as is drags on. We ejected it and watched something else instead. We never saw the ending, and we don't My mother borrowed it from the library, and I came over to watch it also. We both expected a good movie based on how high it was rated by the critics. The longer it played on the DVD, the more we kept glancing at each other with puzzled looks. The movie just gets weirder & weirder as is drags on. We ejected it and watched something else instead. We never saw the ending, and we don't really care how it ends either. As far as the critics... this film reminds me of a shapeless blob of color smears hanging on a museum wall. As art critics rave over what a masterpiece it is, ordinary people walk by and make derogatory comments about it. Expand
  27. KCNJ
    Jul 10, 2002
    10
    This magnificent study of human relationships explores the forces that unexplicably draw men and women to one another. At first the Harvey Keitel character is strange and repulsive with his tribal facial tatoos. This is an unpredictable and haunting story beautifully filmed by the director in New Zealand. The acting is superb, especially oscars winners Holly Hunter and the amazing young This magnificent study of human relationships explores the forces that unexplicably draw men and women to one another. At first the Harvey Keitel character is strange and repulsive with his tribal facial tatoos. This is an unpredictable and haunting story beautifully filmed by the director in New Zealand. The acting is superb, especially oscars winners Holly Hunter and the amazing young actor Anna Paquin. The gorgeous score, all played on the piano by Holly Hunter herself, will continue to haunt your memory along with this extraordinary film. A must see! Expand
  28. MeredithB.
    Jun 29, 2002
    9
    This movie is hauntingly brilliant - it is not a love story but rather a story about the effects passion can have on a whole community. Keitel's performance is one of his strongest as the seducer. Holly Hunter is magnificent as a mute woman who has to learn to connect, Sam Neill as her dullard husband who refuses to, and Ana Paquin as her daughter gives a remarkable performance as a This movie is hauntingly brilliant - it is not a love story but rather a story about the effects passion can have on a whole community. Keitel's performance is one of his strongest as the seducer. Holly Hunter is magnificent as a mute woman who has to learn to connect, Sam Neill as her dullard husband who refuses to, and Ana Paquin as her daughter gives a remarkable performance as a selfish child who tattles just to see what will happen. This movie is not typical escapist fare - it requires intelligent viewing. Expand
  29. MichaelF.
    Jun 28, 2002
    9
    I can understand one saying that this film is pretentious, I personally didn't care because the images were so unbelievable that it deserved to be shown the way the images were shown. It is probably the most beautiful movie that I have ever had the pleasure to see. It's very sensual and beautiful filmmaking. It's not a top-nontch script but it's good enough. This film I can understand one saying that this film is pretentious, I personally didn't care because the images were so unbelievable that it deserved to be shown the way the images were shown. It is probably the most beautiful movie that I have ever had the pleasure to see. It's very sensual and beautiful filmmaking. It's not a top-nontch script but it's good enough. This film is like a painting gallery w/ a story. Expand
  30. DougA.
    Apr 26, 2002
    9
    Wonderful. The best you'll ever see from Holly Hunter, Sam Neil, and especially Harvey Keitel. Visually scrumptious, and Anna Paquin is startling.
  31. RussellS.
    Mar 13, 2002
    0
    The reviews above contain all the vague buzzwords and glittering generalities needed to make you suspect that this movie is pointless garbage. It is indeed that -- but it is made even worse because it has pretentions to profudity handled with canned-ham-handness.
  32. BillS.
    Feb 28, 2002
    0
    Awful.
Metascore
89

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. 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]
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    90
    Campion has spun a fable as potently romantic as a Bronte tale. But The Piano is also deeply cinematic. [22 Nov 1993]
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    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]