OTB#53: The Piano

I remember I was quite excited to watch this film when it was new. Campion had done two pretty good things before this — Sweetie and An Angel at My Table (which led me to Janet Frame’s novels and poetry, which I liked a lot).

And then I watched this film and I was all… “what the fuck? Oscar bait?”

But perhaps it was all early-20s hipsterishness (“I liked her before she got popular”) thing? So I’m totally open to me being mistaken.

Oh, fuck this. It’s one of those elevator pitch movies? “It’s about a woman who chooses not to speak, but she speaks through her piano” (which probably goes missing in the Jungles of New Zealand; I don’t quite recall).

Odd white balance.

Holly Hunter gives great Oscar face.

Oh man.

Nooo the pianner.

I do appreciate that Campion has given that guy facial tattoos — whenever there’s two male actors of approximately the same build/age/hair colour, I can never keep them apart. So I like characters wearing eye patches or wooden legs, arr.

Well… in my 20s, I thought this movie was total bollocks. I don’t quite dislike it as much now — I’m picking up more of the deliberate oddnesses in the movie, like the shot above… there’s like sequences the I’m not annoyed by? But then the plot starts happening again and I’m bored again.

It’s not as Oscar-baity as I remembered it being — it’s just really odd, and I like that. But we’re almost at the halfway point, so I guess something really dramatic and boring is gonna happen any moment now…

And indeed — once she finally has sex with the tattooed guy the other guy is there to overhear it. Perfect!

The first time around, I also missed how funny some of the scenes are… like when she’s sort of having sex with the guy without tattoos.

It does seem slightly racist, though.

OK, I have to admit it — I was wrong when I saw this back in 1993. It’s not an awful movie — it’s a pretty interesting one.

As Oscar bait movies go.

The Piano. Jane Campion. 1993.

This blog post is part of the Officially The Best 2022 series.

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