“The Piano” (IT’S A SYMBOL)

Mar 20th, 2004 | By | Category: Columns


Has anyone else here seen The Piano?


Good idea.

But for those that need to write a report on it, I offer you an Intellectual Summary. (We couldn’t get the rights to the pictures, so I have drawn them myself.)

Holly Hunter: I haven’t spoken since I was six, for no real reason.

(Hint: We need a reason. Seriously. The movie is ABOUT this. I’ll suspend disbelief, but I can’t FLY.)


| |……….| |
| |……….| |

This is the piano, stuck in the ocean! A haunting image. Nicely done, Ms. Campion! Please note that the piano is a SYMBOL. It will be on the exam.


Sam Neill (pictured above) plays her husband, who is mean for leaving the piano. Stay tuned. We’ll see him later! (Though not in any narrative capacity and not for another forty minutes!)


That’s Harvey Keitel with all his gonads swinging everywhere. He’s not much different from Sam Neill, you’ll notice. EXCEPT.

He has this!


| |……….| |
| |……….| |

The symbolic piano! It’s a SYMBOL, you know.


Holly Hunter, pictured here, is speechless in the face of Harvey Keitel flinging his genetalia everywhere in an attempt to prove he loves her.

He makes her sleep with him to get her piano back. Aww, true love!

(Allow me to note that Holly Hunter at the piano is exquisite, and if the movie had consisted only of this image it would have been worthy of all the praise it received.)

But meanwhile!


See that tiny figure? That’s Anna Paquin, Holly Hunter’s daughter. She is neglected through the whole movie, so here she’s playing far away. Like she is for most of the movie.

Then later she’s a bitch, but whatever. The movie doesn’t care about her, so why should I?

Also? There is mud. EVERYWHERE. I feel I cannot accurately depict the level of mud in this movie using any ASCII known to man. You will have to imagine the most disgusting pile of mud ever, and then imagine a forty thousand dollar costuming budget getting repeatedly dropped into said mud. That’s about the level.

Then, there’s an action sequence!

Holly and Harvey: <3

Sam Neill: O______O

Anna Paquin: >___<

Sam Neill: *||||

That is a FINGER, people.

He cuts off her finger. For sleeping with Harvey Keitel.

Where has he been for forty minutes, you ask? Good question.


There, maybe, frolicking.


:) :) :)*

Harvey Keitel and Anna Paquin and Holly Hunter (sans finger) live happily ever after.

They throw the piano overboard. IT’S A SYMBOL.



| |……….| |
| |……….| |

Another lovely image.

The end.

Oh, also, Holly Hunter talks now, apparently. Thanks, narrative cohesion!

Have I left anything out? Not really! I wish this had been a short film about a woman on the beach playing piano, because Holly Hunter playing piano is hypnotic, and it was just a fantastic moment whenever she sat down to play, except when Harvey was naked because come on, people.

But then there was a lot of mud and Sam Neill going batshit after not really being in the film at all and a ton of really heavy symbolism.

Well done, Jane Campion. A film full of SYMBOLISM, and gonads.


Genevieve is a prolific writer of speculative fiction living in New York, but you’ll never find her there because millions of people live there and Genevieve likes her privacy. Examples of her fiction can be found in Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Federations, and numerous other magazines and anthologies. Her first novel is forthcoming in 2011. Also? She has terrible taste in movies.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.