Talk:The Piano

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References to use[edit]

Please add to the list references that can be used for the film article.
  • Taylor, Lib (1999). "Inscription in The Piano". In Bignell, Jonathan. Writing and Cinema. Crosscurrents. Addison Wesley Publishing Company. pp. 88–102. ISBN 0582357586. 
  • Sklarew, Bruce H. (2001). "I Have Not Spoken: Silence in The Piano". In Gabbard, Glen O. Psychoanalysis and Film. International Journal of Psychoanalysis Key Paper Series. Karnac Books. ISBN 1855752751. 

Non NPOV criticism[edit]

NNPOV and unnecessary interpretation of symbolism. removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:15, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

The film has nonetheless drawn some scorn from many who see it as misogynistic, if not entirely misanthropic: the woman appears to be a consummate narcissist who has simply decided since the age of 6 to refuse to speak, thus making her dependent on others for her care, while she amuses herself with her piano playing. She has no misgivings about sexually acting out when her husband proves to be less than ideal, believes that she literally mentally controlled her daughter's father into having sex with her, and kisses herself in the mirror. Additionally her husband a sexually shy, cold boor who is more interested in his logging operations than his new wife and child; and her paramour is an instant cuckolder of his best friend who has partly "gone native". The husband's pompous cousin and niece are portrayed by two obese actresses, and have been given the uncomplementary names of Nessie and Morag, as well.

The above paragraph (last one of the article) is quite non NPOV, and arguably spoils key elements of the film plot. Right now I can't see a way to make it better without completely removing it, so please, can anybody lend a hand? --xDCDx 2 July 2005 11:12 (UTC)

Can't see the NPOV problem. The author states he is reporting a set of critc or audience (he should be clearer which, perhaps) reactions, not making a definitive statement of fact. Nothing about NPOV that I'm aware of that prevents controversy or differences of opinion from being recorded. The spoiler problem can be take care of with a spoiler warning (done). 8 July 2005 02:31 (UTC)

I've rewritten this, see what you think. The Singing Badger 01:44, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

After returning to this article a few months later, I reread the praragraph and removed it. Many of its statements are not true, and it seems a fundamentally stupid argument anyway that doesn't reflect the issues most serious critics have with the film. I've substituted a very short summary of the principal critical debate about the film; hopefully this can be enhanced and perhaps some of the deleted paragraph can be fed into it if someone thinks there is valuable material there.


"One of the few dissenters was feminist critic bell hooks who condemned it as racist in her book Outlaw Culture."

On what basis was this criticism made? Franz-kafka 17:51, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Not an Australian film...[edit]

It is well known that Australia is notorious for claiming credit of the great works of New Zealanders (and I say this as a proud Aussie), and this would have to be an egregious example. How can a film set completely in New Zealand featuring a cast made of of Kiwis and Yanks possibly be considered an Australian film? --Robert Merkel 05:35, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Because a lot of its financing came from the Australian Film Commission. Cop 633 17:26, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
It is actually a French-Australian film. The locale of filming is largely irrelevant, if it was we would remember Star Wars as a Tunisian film.Royalcourtier (talk) 00:16, 6 December 2014 (UTC)


Citation is needed for the Bill Clinton rumor. Madangry 19:23, 12 April 2006 (UTC)


The Piano tells the story of Scotswoman Ada McGrath (Hunter), who is sold into marriage by her father to frontiersman Alistair Stewart (Neill).

The main Character's name (McGrath) and the accent of her inner voice with which she narrates the film suggest that she is Irish, not Scottish.--Beetfarm Louie 17:51, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

The screenplay is available here[1] and describes her as coming from a 'Scottish household'. You're right that Holly Hunter's accent doesn't sound particularly Scottish, but the little girl's (Anna Paquin) does. Cop 633 17:25, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Not that it really matters, but the main character's name would indeed suggest that she is Scottish. Scottish names frequently begin with "Mc" or "Mac". Irish names, on the other hand, typically begin with "O' ". Like O'Neal, O'Brien, etc. Captain Quirk (talk) 22:57, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
The characters are meant to be Scottish. Unfortunately bad actors often cannot make convincing Scottish accents.Royalcourtier (talk) 00:18, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Only Best Actress Win for a Mute Character?[edit]

The article asserts that "Hunter's award was notable for being the only time the award has been presented to an actor who does not speak onscreen." However, I am not sure this is true. Jane Wyman received the Best Actress Oscar for the 1948 film Johnny Belinda, in which she plays a deaf-mute character. I haven't seen the movie myself, however, so I can't confirm that she speaks absolutely no lines in it. Has anybody here seen it?

Johnny Belinda does sound like it has a few parallels with The Piano plot-wise as well. Both films concern the troubled romantic life of a very misunderstood mute woman living in a remote corner of the 19th-century British Empire among a community of primarily Scottish descent. I don't think these parallels merit mention in an article, but they do make for an interesting bit of trivia. (talk) 18:22, 7 December 2007 (UTC)F Smith


i feel it is nessasary to put him on trivia. it was the last film he watched —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:20, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

This is not something that most readers of the article would be interested in, as it doesn't add any information about this film. If you think it is important, put it in the Curt Cobain article. Make sure you add a citation, which explains why this is important to an understanding of his life.-gadfium 22:39, 1 January 2008 (UTC)


Where in New Zealand was the film set and filmed? This should be added. Badagnani (talk) 04:04, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Additional Source/Link Providing Counterbalance to NNPOV of Article[edit]

Excellent in-depth review by Allan Stone of the Boston Review that could be helpful as a resource/link and to counterbalance the apparent bias in the original article. JerushaViolet (talk) 17:40, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Biased Synopsis[edit]

The synopsis looks like someone who hated the title character wrote it. Shouldn’t it be more neutrally worded? Compare for example Roger Ebert's reviewand keep in mind that was a review and not a synopsis so it didn’t even have to be neutrally worded. (talk) 04:55, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I made a bunch of changes. There were a lot of important omissions, and some pretty strange additions. It was clearly written by someone who hates the protagonist, and a lot of assumptions were made about the characters that could in no way be considered neutral. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:17, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

I read the previous version, and the current revision and agree that the changes make it a lot more neutral. I will remove the NPOV tag as no one seems to be advocating for the previous version and the current version satisfies NPOV. The Seeker 4 Talk 14:41, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

I reread the synopsis and it defiantly seems better now though it still reads more like a review then a synopsis. I did remove that bizarre metaphor about the piano at the end but other then that it is a satisfactory article now I suppose. (talk) 06:37, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure I was the one who made the unappreciated changes, "pretty strange additions" and "bizarre metaphors" discussed above, afterI found the existing synopsis to be very biased against Ada's character, incomplete, and far too sophomoric for such a fine and complex film. I completely agree that my version was more than a straightforward plot synopsis; but it certainly gave more feeling for the poetic aspects of this film than subsequent 'improvements' as noted above. (And FYI - it's "definitely," not "defiantly".) I was sad to revisit the article and find that the latest synopsis was just as biased as the one preceding mine (she "sadistically" pushes him away?? I don't think so), and containing factual errors (the Maori women aren't talking about Baines when they refer to "Old Dry Balls"). Frankly, it read like a high-school-level essay. And maybe I don't get Wikipedia, and that's the level it strives for. I teach film and have watched "The Piano" more than two dozen times, and written papers on it, so what do I know? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

You are welcome to improve the plot synopsis, but you cannot simply copy text from another site, as you did from That is a breach of their copyright. If you own the copyright to the material, you will need to change the copyright notice on that page to indicate that the text is released under the CC-BY-SA license.-gadfium 01:54, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
I simply can't understand why one version was removed for 'biased' content and replaced by another with even more bias, many more assumptions of character motivation, and personal interpretations.
The bizzare metaphor in the synposis I was referring to was this in referance to Ada:
"She sinks, connected by the rope to the piano which has reflected her pathological sense of self-glorification"
That was deleted in my edit in 06:35, 21 June 2009. I don't think you were the one who put that in. Before my changes it used to be much more biased against her as that bizzare metapohor I think shows. When I put in POV tag awhile back I don't think it was from the changes you made. It was a long time ago and I see the article has again been tinkered with though it is still not as bad as it was in June. After looking through the edit history I probably should have asked for a reversion to the earlier version rather then put in POV tag and let make it less biased then it was when I found it but I was too lazy to read the in depth edit history then. A lot of those biased comments were left over from some anti Ada user that changed the article sometime in early June. (talk) 03:06, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

For Edith[edit]

The film ends with the credit "For Edith". Why and who´s Edith? -- (talk) 11:27, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

The director's mother. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 02:47, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Article image[edit]

Hello, I'd like to ask, is it possible to revert the image in the infobox back to the one with the piano on the beach? I am asking because I am pretty certain, that since the image was changed, the page's thumbnail in facebook, started showing the generic movie icon, instead of the thumbnail of the image I described above. --Otrivin (talk) 14:14, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

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The ending[edit]

I was startled by the article's implication that Ada did not drown, "but then she changes her mind and kicks free to be pulled back into the boat." Surely this is a complete misreading of the whole ending. As the piano drags her down, the rope starts out well wrapped around her calf above her boot. After she's breathed out all her air, which she does in two large breaths out, a drowning victim would be entering a dream state, and what happens next is surely intended as a dream sequence in which the details of her situation under water become vague and implausible like Alice in Wonderland while she fantasizes an idyllic future life. She pictures the rope being wrapped around her boot instead, which she's therefore able to remove (itself illogical, even around the boot the rope would have acted like very strong laces), with the rope and boot falling limply away instead of streaming behind the falling piano. Just as she surfaces the dream music distorts momentarily. As she is pulled into the boat, she thinks dreamily to herself, "What a death. What a chance. What a surprise. My will has chosen life?" Suddenly she's in Nelson, imagining a prosthetic finger, learning to speak, then her cartwheeling youth flashing before her eyes (as if the other hints weren't enough), then imagining Blaine kissing her through a shroud, then Blaine lifting the shroud and kissing her again. Then just as suddenly we are back at the piano, which meanwhile has come to rest, with the rope held taut by a shroud floating above the boot which presumably is her petticoat enshrouding her body. Before the final Hood quote she says "Down there everything is so still and silent."

The Disney-ish suggestion that the final shot of the piano and enshrouded body was merely something she was imagining while leading a perfect life in Nelson trivializes a deeply moving ending. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 04:56, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

It's not clear why the piano was thrown overboard. Either the boat was about to sink or the piano was too heavy to carry aboad to begin with. --EQ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Everyqueen (talkcontribs) 05:13, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
The ending was clear. Ada decided that she, like the piano, was "spoiled" and needed to be destroyed. It was suicide. The film ought to have ended there. However Campion chickened out and created a dream-like (ambiguous) bookend suggesting a totally unlikely idealistic ending for Ada and Blaine. More recently she admitted that was an error, and that she should have been braver and left the ending as it was meant to be.Royalcourtier (talk) 00:23, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Marriage not slavery[edit]

Ada agreed to marry a stranger, primarily as she had little choice. But she did agree. She was not "sold by her father into marriage to a New Zealand frontiersman named Alisdair Stewart".Royalcourtier (talk) 00:26, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Sign language[edit]

British Sign Language is listed here as one the three languages of the film. However in this interview Holly Hunter says the signs were assembled in cooperation with an American Sign Language interpreter. As both languages are quite different, I guess that both cannot be true. Bever (talk) 15:44, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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