Reaction to The Piano Characters

Overall, The Piano did not stand out to me as a brilliant film. The aspect of the film that bothered me the most were the characters. To me, character development is one of the most important components of a movie or any form of storytelling. Characters make the story have meaning and, when the audience cannot see that a character has not changed, it makes the story dull. It also creates a stigma that the audience can find very difficult to relate to. As people, we grow and change either for better or worse. Movies should be able to depict how a person can change after something significant has happened to them.

In The Piano, I did not see any character development that was at least satisfying. After the first hour, I became frustrated with every single character and eventually with the movie itself. This made me lose interest fairly quickly. The main character, Ada, stayed stubborn and made bad decisions and let the audience and other characters feel remorse for her because of her tragic past. Her new husband was probably the only main character who appeared to change as we saw him grow more and more interested in his new wife. I was rooting for him until his misogynistic ideals reminded him that he was a colonial white man and he quickly became annoying again. Ada’s lover, George Bains, was also disappointingly misogynistic and took advantage of Ada multiple times. At first, he gave off a creepy vibe but, as he fell in love with Ada, the writers tried to make him into a romantic. To me, he just got more creepy and I felt that the writers poorly attempted to make their audience like him.

If we saw Ada defend herself and try to gain respect from both men, I would be more satisfied with the movie. I understand that back in the late 1800s women were not treated as they are now and that her behavior was quite common but I feel that this movie did not depict the customs as well as it could have.


3 thoughts on “Reaction to The Piano Characters

  1. I remember watching this movie some years ago, but I am glad I got to watch it again. It really sticks to your mind. I have to agree though, I too disliked the lack of progression in the characters’ personalities.


  2. I hated this film when I first saw it. But the second time, I actually liked it. The most memorable scene is when Ada first arrives at the beach. The waves look huge in the background but its actually due to the lens of the camera. The characters are all decent and the costumes are very nice especially Alan Grant’s I mean Sam Neal. However the film failed to address the Maori they are completely neglected in this film. They aren’t even given subtitles! They do all the heavy lifting which is a burden. Jane Campion really failed to address the Maori.


  3. I totally agree with you. As the film developed I did not root for any of the characters and the ending did not satisfy me with Ada choosing a man that took advantage of her several times.


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