Writer/director Jane Campion’s 1993 film, The Piano is seen a a modern classic, however I would argue that the drama is not quite a masterpiece. That’s not to say that it’s a bad film – far from it – it’s a well composed and well acted piece of arthouse cinema, but not an awful lot happens across its 2 hour running time.
Starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill and Anna Paquin (in her first role), Campion’s award-winning film resonated with audiences (and critics), grossing over $40 million at the US box office following its theatrical release 28 years ago.
The Piano has good performances and some strong moments but It’s a simple tale about a mute Scottish single mother (Hunter) who ends up as Neill’s mail-order bride in New Zealand. He doesn’t like her piano and sells it to Keitel’s gruff farmhand. Harvey gets piano lessons, Holly falls for him, leaving Neill in the lurch. The film features an absolutely stunning score from Michael Nyman.
Nominated for eight Academy Awards, The Piano won three of the coveted statues – Best Actress (Holly Hunter), Best Supporting Actress (Anna Paquin) and Best Original Screenplay (Jane Campion). Paquin became the second youngest Academy Award winner at the age of just 11.