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

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 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.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. 100
    It is one of those rare movies that is not just about a story, or some characters, but about a whole universe of feeling.
  2. Great art is both immediately accessible and eternally elusive, having at its centre a powerful simplicity that speaks to anyone who cares to listen, that rewards every interpretation while embracing none. The Piano is great art.
  3. 100
    The story worms further into the guts of Victorian experience than most historical dramas, because it aims at the most neglected aspect of that age, and the most alarmingly modern: its surrealism. [29 Nov 1993, p.148]
  4. Magical and haunting, The Piano has the power and delicate mystery of a gothic fairy tale. [19 Nov 1993]
  5. 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]
  6. The wonder of The Piano is that such an outwardly simple story could emerge into such a complex swirl of lingering memories.
  7. 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: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 7 out of 32
  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. Expand
  2. 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. Expand
  3. 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. Expand
  4. 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.
  5. RyanB.
    Sep 19, 2005
    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
  6. 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
  7. AmberH.
    Sep 19, 2005
    I missed the finger chop bit, so i dont understand it, and it took forever to tell the story.

See all 32 User Reviews


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.