Ada McGrath (Hunter), mute since childhood, travels with her young, precocious daughter Flora (Paquin) to a remote part of New Zealand to wed icy farmer Stewart (Neill). A ferociously talented pianist, Ada soon agrees to give music lessons to George Baines (Keitel), an Englishman living among Maoris, in exchange for his housing the piano her husband would not let her keep. It's not long before a strange, erotic passion slowly begins to consume them.
Why we love it
Set in the 19th century, Jane Campion's brilliant period tale was rightly lauded in 1993 for its eccentric storyline and otherworldly, dreamlike atmosphere. Despite never uttering a word, Oscar winner Hunter exudes intelligence and determination as the rebellious Ada, along with a repressed yet combustible sensuality. Anna Paquin is a marvel in her debut, exemplifying the mix of spunk and knowingness that made her a sought-after young star. Visually ravishing and exquisite, "The Piano" is Campion's visually poetic ode to our unspoken emotions.