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Two words: Harvey Keitel

  • Jan 17, 2010
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The story opens in the mid-19th century, as we meet the voluntarily-mute Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) whose only form of expression is playing her beloved piano. She and her daughter and the piano arrive in New Zealand to meet a man she's been married to in absentia, a shy farmer trying to carve a homestead out of the Maori rain forest. Sadly, Ada has no interest in him, but she is strangely attracted to their rather earthy neighbor (Harvey Keitel).

Wow. This story captures sensuality, desire, and love in a very adult movie. Hunter won Best Actress of 1994 for her performance as the drab and somber Ada and eleven year-old Anna Paquin won Best Supporting Actress for playing her spunky daughter. Neill is appropriately stiff and unsure (and altogether adorable) as the unhappy husband, but the real surprise here is Harvey Keitel, who is unforgettably lusty.  I'm amazed that he didn't get a lot of romantic roles after this; he sure has that certain something!

This is an unusual and erotic tale with unlikely lovers finding each other in an inhospitable place. Memorable.

Two words: Harvey Keitel Two words: Harvey Keitel Two words: Harvey Keitel Two words: Harvey Keitel

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January 17, 2010
I have always heard good things about this film but have never seen it. Perhaps if I see it at the library I will pick it up. Thanks for the review!
January 17, 2010
It's definitely worth a look. Unusual, to say the least.
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About this movie


The Piano is a 1993 film about a mute female pianist and her daughter, set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier New Zealand backwater. The film was written and directed by Jane Campion, and stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill and Anna Paquin. It features a score for the piano by Michael Nyman which became a bestselling soundtrack album. Hunter played her own piano pieces for the film, and also served as sign language teacher for Paquin, earning herself three different screen credits. The film was an international co-production by Australian producer Jan Chapman with the French company Ciby 2000.

Alistair Fox has argued that The Piano was significantly influenced by Jane Mander's The Story of a New Zealand River.
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