User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 85
  2. Negative: 10 out of 85

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  1. Oct 25, 2014
    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 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.
  2. Sep 21, 2013
    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
    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 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
    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
    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.

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
    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
    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]