The Piano is a 1993 period drama film written and directed by Jane Campion and starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin in her first acting role and based on the novel, The Story of a New Zealand River, by Jane Mander. Set in the mid-19th century, the film focuses on a psychologically mute Scottish woman who travels to a remote part of New Zealand with her young daughter after her arranged marriage to a frontiersman.
An electively mute Scotswoman named Ada McGrath is sold by her father into marriage to a New Zealand frontiersman named Alisdair Stewart, bringing her young daughter Flora with her. Ada has not spoken a word since she was six and no one, including herself, knows why. She expresses herself through her piano playing and through sign language, for which her daughter, in parent-child role reversal, has served as her interpreter. Flora, it is later learned, is the product of a relationship with a teacher whom Ada believed she had seduced through mental telepathy, but who "became frightened and stopped listening", and thus left her.