The Piano

The Piano Image
Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 97 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A seemingly mute woman (Hunter) is sent to New Zealand together with her daughter and her beloved piano, for an arranged marriage.

Trailer

Please enter your birth date to continue:
You are not allowed to view this material at this time.
Autoplay: On | Off

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. USA Today
    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]
  2. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    100
    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]
  3. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Julie Salamon
    100
    With its breathtaking visual style and careful attention to sound and movement, the movie provokes contemplation about the ways people communicate – through words, through music, through sex, and, most significantly, through touch. [14 Dec 1993, p.A14(E)]
  4. 100
    The Piano plays itself with such contrapuntal richness, it resonates in you forever.
  5. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    90
    It takes exceptional acting to enable a story like this to take hold, and Campion has gotten it here. [19 Nov 1993]
  6. The wonder of The Piano is that such an outwardly simple story could emerge into such a complex swirl of lingering memories.
  7. The New Republic
    Reviewed by: Stanley Kauffmann
    10
    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]

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 34
  2. Negative: 7 out of 34
  1. neezyk.
    Jul 29, 2007
    10
    Perfect!
  2. 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 myInnovating 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.
    Expand
  3. Jan 30, 2012
    10
    Beautiful, moving, original, visually poignant, excellent music, fantastic acting performances. One of my favourite movies. I am puzzled byBeautiful, 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. Collapse
  4. 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 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. Expand
  5. May 26, 2016
    7
    The artistic medium of film is very subjective. Every audience member has a different set of criteria they use to measure their viewingThe artistic medium of film is very subjective. Every audience member has a different set of criteria they use to measure their viewing experience. Not everyone shares the same set of criteria. If we did, what a bland and uninspired world this would be.

    What I Personally Liked About "The Piano":
    The visual tone of this film was magnificent. Muted colors painting the canvas with their earthen forests and beaches, creating a sumptuous living space for the characters to stalk through. I also enjoyed the performances of Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin and Holly Hunter. The latter particularly impressed by portraying a very nuanced role without the benefit of verbal language to see her through. The fact that Hunter also played most of the wonderful piano pieces herself amazes even more.

    What I Personally Disliked About "The Piano":
    While Sam Neill does his best with the role, the character of Alisdair Stewart seems a bit underdeveloped in my eyes. He never quite lives up to the characters who surround him in this film. There's also a general feeling of detachedness between the writer/director and her audience members. It's like Jane Campion doesn't want us getting too close to her own emotional state regarding the events she depicts. Not having read her accompanying novel, I am unsure if this distance was corrected in that medium or not. I also have one or two small nitpicks with the pacing of the film. Sometimes Campion rushes through segments which would have benefitted from a bit more depth while other times she painfully stretches out moments which should have been edited down.

    My Overall Impression of "The Piano":
    It may seem as though there are more dislikes for me than likes in "The Piano," however the good does outweigh the bad where this film is concerned. Though it is not a piece I would watch on a regular basis, I am still glad I saw the film and I could also see myself returning for a repeat viewing a few years down the road.
    Expand
  6. 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 noJane 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.
    Expand
  7. AmberH.
    Sep 19, 2005
    1
    I missed the finger chop bit, so i dont understand it, and it took forever to tell the story.

See all 34 User Reviews

Trailers

Related Articles

  1. Ranked: The Best Women Film Directors (and Their Films)

    Ranked: The Best Women Film Directors (and Their Films) Image
    Published: July 17, 2010
    Even in a year where the directing Oscar went to a woman for the first time, female filmmakers still don't receive the recognition that their male counterparts do. We look at the top women directors and their films, including the two best-reviewed live-action films of the summer.
  2. 23 Buddy Movies, Ranked From Worst to Best

    23 Buddy Movies, Ranked From Worst to Best Image
    Published: July 25, 2016
    We rank some of cinema's most notable buddy films by Metascore.
  3. What to Watch Now on Netflix

    What to Watch Now on Netflix Image
    Published: July 25, 2016
    Get a list of the best movie and TV titles recently added (and coming soon) to Netflix streaming, updated frequently. You can also find a list of titles expiring soon.
  4. Film Friday (7/22): This Week's New Movie Trailers

    Film Friday (7/22): This Week's New Movie Trailers Image
    Published: July 22, 2016
    Watch all of this week's new film trailers, including new looks at The Magnificent Seven, Sausage Party, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Snowden, The Girl on the Train, and more. Plus, get a quick update on the latest movie news and release date announcements.
  5. What Movie Should I See This Weekend?

    What Movie Should I See This Weekend? Image
    Published: July 20, 2016
    Preview all of this weekend's new theatrical releases (including Star Trek Beyond, Lights Out, Don't Think Twice, Ice Age: Collision Course, and more), with Metascores and trailers for each new film.