Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Piano (1993) (2nd time)

A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation. [imdb]

Nominated for 8 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Jane Campion
Best Actress: Holly Hunter (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actress: Anna Paquin (WINNER)
Best Original Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Costume Design

Yes, it's just the 2nd time I'm seeing The Piano! Can you believe it? :P Being such an essential film for bloggers and such. Really now, there are tons of worshippers around here. And I have to admit something: for a very long time I've been on the Angela Bassett team regarding the Best Actress category. Right now, I am undecided, as it's hard to compare totally different performances. But what I can say about The Piano is that is has a magnificent direction and a very good (and also very special & unique) leading performance.
If 1993 wouldn't have been all about Schindler's List, this movie would've also won Best Picture, Best Director (we would've had the first woman to win in this category!!!) and Best Cinematography (excellent! and very... careful with its showing)! I for one preferred Schindler's List, but Jane Campion really does create such a special film! The story is simple, the film is quiet, beautifully shot and depends a lot on its visuals. The screenplay is good, Oscar worthy, but not better than the film itself; this is the case for an art film, cause this is what The Piano is.
Holly Hunter does give an excellent performance and the role is tough to play, not because of how much it offers, but because it demands 100% focus & greatness by giving the actress many limitations! I don't believe in Anna Paquin's Oscar win, but it was a weak race anyway. I find it hard to love The Piano, but I'm mad about the direction. Who can forget the piano and the sea moment right before the end? Or the fantastic cinematography? But except for Holly's character I really didn't enjoy the rest of them.
My rating for the film: 8.5/10. Hard to talk about. And I would've also gone for less explicit nudity / sexuality. Yet still a great achievement.


  1. I actually would have been backing The Remains of the Day that year and Emma Thompson. But this is a good one.

  2. For years I had a big crush on The Remains of the Day! And I loved everybody in it, even though Emma is leading just by... reputation. It's Anthony's movie.

    in the end, from the 5 I go with Schindler's List. Too powerful to be ignored! But Remains is close there.

  3. Yes it is Anthony's film and although Emma is not the main part I always thought had she not one for Howards End [which seems ludicrous] she would have won for this. I really liked her in this. But then I'm just really enamoured by her.

  4. "for a very long time I've been on the Angela Bassett team regarding the Best Actress category."

    Not to diss Holly Hunter but it's a bit of a crime that Angela Bassett didn't win that year.

  5. truth is it's been a while since I've seen What's love got to do with it. but I remember being very impressed by angela, even if the movie was difficult to sit through due to all the abuse & stuff.

    anyway, there was no way Holly Hunter was losing this one!

  6. Alex - are you taking part in Stinkylulu's Smackdown this month?

  7. Sometimes, I wonder how much of Hunter's performance is her own greatness, and how much is the audience projecting onto her. I mean, she doesn't say anything, and she's pretty stone-faced through much of it. I know I loved her in it, but I wondered how much was my love for Holly and how much was superb actressing.

    I haven't seen Schindler's List (I am an awful person, I know), but as of now...The Remains of the Day wins in my book.

  8. Well, it's definitely a special performance. an exotic one. I felt so the same until the scene where she comes back to Harvey Keitel and surrenders to love :D that was excellently played

  9. The Piano is probably my second favorite movie of all time. It's a movie that makes me feel deeply, and I think those are becoming increasingly rare.

  10. To me, The Piano was the second best film of 1993, behind Schindler's List. And I can definitely see why Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin won their Oscars (Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively). They were absolutely brilliant in this movie.