Extra Credit on The Piano
I did not like this movie. I did not like this movie at ALL.
And I think it's only fair that those against the movie get some screen time.
I wanted to groan loudly when the film started and Ada introduced herself and explained she hadn't spoken since she was six. Right then I knew that the story would be a flight of fancy. Then there's the fact that the piano would most likely be ruined by the voyage and rain. I was also really bothered by the scene were the white folks were re-enacting the Bluebeard story and the natives were shown to not understand that it was just a play.
But onto the meat of why this movie made me mad.
Ada is sold to the frontiersman Stewart, and although it is the Victorian times she is not raped and tormented into a relationship. Which I thought gave Stewart some brownie points. But we still don't like him because he is a land grabber and treats the natives badly. We are made to like Baines because he has the exotic facial tattoos and understands those natives. But how are we suppose to remain liking him when he blackmails Ada into performing sexual favors? At least her husband had respect for her. The piano can be taken as a symbol for Ada's expression, or even her soul. So it is not only the piano that is held by Baines, but herself. Then she goes about and developes Stockholm Syndrome and "falls in love" with Baines. Then there is the delightful ending were she gives up her piano and learns how to speak again with a veil over her face.
What is meant by this ending? Ada has a passion for her piano, but as soon as she finds passion for a man she can give it up. It's as if the movie is trying to say that the only correct passion for a woman is a man. Grr. Other female characters call Ada's piano playing creepy and call her crazy. So the movie can also be read as Baines helped restore her. Love saves all. But once again, he did it by sexual intimidation and coerceon. I really hated that. It really made me wonder if the movie would've won ANY awards had the director been male.
I did love the costumes though.