The Piano

  • Review Date: February 28, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 121 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Charged tale of a woman's awakening for older teens and up.
  • Review Date: February 28, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 121 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

A graphic finger chopping scene.

Sex

Male and female full frontal nudity, consensual and forced sexual situations.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Piano is a complex adult drama with sexual relationships driving its plot. George is shown fully nude from the front in the beginning of a sex scene between him and Ada. In addition to a rather graphically staged play depicting violent acts, Ada's husband attacks Ada with a real axe, chopping off her finger -- a scene accentuated by blood squirting on the face of Ada's nearby daughter. He also holds George at gunpoint. While the language is not often explicit, the emotional intensity of the husband's rage is obviously heavy.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE PIANO tells the story of a mute (by choice) Scottish woman of the 19th century, Ada (Holly Hunter), and her daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) as they move to New Zealand for Ada to fulfill the obligations of a marriage that her father has arranged. Her husband Stewart (Sam Neill) is awkward and stilted in his interactions with her. He doesn't appreciate her connection with the piano that she has brought with her from Scotland, which leavers her open to the affection of a Maori neighbor, George Baines (Harvey Keitel), who does understand the connection and uses the piano as a way to get close to Ada.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Writer/director Jane Campion's The Piano is a poetic film, rich with metaphor, recurring visual motifs, and a masterful score by Michael Nyman. Watching this film for its story alone may leave many viewers wanting. The true core of the film is the impressionistic rendering of the sexual awakening of the repressed Ada at the hands of George Baines. The pace is slow, as time is taken to focus on the lush scenery of the New Zealand forest and the elaborate clothing and decorations marking the time period and its conservatism.

For those with the patience, this is a rewarding film filled with great performances. In fact, Holly Hunter won the best actress Oscar for playing Ada -- proving that a great actress doesn't need spoken dialogue to express herself vividly -- while Anna Paquin won the supporting actress award for her role.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why it's important that Ada chooses not to speak, acting as a mute, despite having no physical disability preventing her from doing so. How does Stewart treat Ada and her piano? In contrast, how does George treat her? Is it right for George to blackmail Ada into sexual situations with him? Are Stewart's reactions to George and Ada appropriate or understandable? What function do the Maoris have in the film?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 12, 1993
DVD release date:January 20, 1998
Cast:Harvey Keitel, Holly Hunter, Sam Neill
Director:Jane Campion
Studio:Artisan Entertainment
Genre:Drama
Run time:121 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:moments of extremely graphic sexuality

This review of The Piano was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byshadowexile6 February 3, 2011
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Far to much sexuality

I have to say, i love Bright Star, the other movie Jane Campion had done that i have seen, so i decided to watch this movie, assuming it would be just as good. No. In my personal opinion i did not like this movie at all, i can see how other people think it is brilliant. But i thought that there was far to much sexuality in it. Frankly i found it to be nearly revolting. The main character Ada, is clearly a seriously deranged woman, and i felt truly sorry for her child. I think that if you like this movie or not depends on what kind of person you are. In my own perspective i found it to be very disturbing.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bylelexy2000 January 9, 2010
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

too sexual

there is too much sex in that movie. and i love anna paquin so i would like to really like to see that movie because it's anna paquin's oscar winning role.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Adult Written byroxyiscool999 June 13, 2011
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

The Piano Review

The Piano is a Drama movie with some sex scenes that are not appropriate for under 16's it is a little bit violent and only a little bit of language in the movie
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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