Movies That Suck: The Piano


This dreary little film about a guy from New Zealand (a missionary, I guess) who (literally) takes a weird mute woman as his wife starts out with Holly Hunter as the piano-playing mute and Sam Neill as her asshole husband.

Holly is left for days (weeks? who knows?) on end in the couple’s cabin in the woods, where half-dressed native people do … work for them. Maybe. It’s not quite clear, actually.

Holly has a kid who likes to prance around in the forest, wearing angel wings.

Meanwhile, Holly tries to teach Harvey Keitel (an alleged illiterate native — a bit of a stretch for ole’ Harvey, if you ask me) to play the piano. Her piano is her sole way of expressing herself, in ways that her asshole husband can’t seem to fathom. However, Harvey it seems is less into learning piano than in “doing things” to himself, as I recall, as Holly plays the piano.

Without revealing spoilers, I will only say:

1) why on earth would anyone want to film Keitel in a full frontal nude scene? (Have I mentioned that this isn’t a horror movie?); and

2) how would an illiterate native be able to write a love note on a piano key?

Alas, we are given no answers to these questions.

And yet the movie went on to win all kinds of movie awards, most likely because Jane Campion directed it. Thus proving that women are as capable of directing bad movies as men.

I give this no stars, but instead one head ‘splode.


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