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The Piano

            In the movie, The Piano, by Jane Campion, two men, Stewart and Baines, fall profoundly in love with Ada, a mute, Scottish widow. Her beloved piano is her best way of communication. She speaks through her music to the two men who long for her. Yet there is only one man that can truly appreciate what she says. Without words to distract him, he can look past her beauty into her soul.
             After Ada's arrival in New Zealand, Stewart awaits her, along with his roughly silent neighbor, Baines. Ada is still somewhat dazed from the journey and the rude landing, and she appears vulnerable and frail. Stewart only notices her impressive assets, while Baines is much more responsive to her need of sleep. Stewart remains crude, impolite and careless, claiming that the piano is much too heavy to bring to her new home. To him, it is simply something heavy to lug around. He clearly has no appreciation of the significance of the piano, so it is left on the beach. .
             It is Baines who rescues the piano through a somewhat snaky route. Mesmerized by her beauty and talent, he proposes to sell her back the instrument one black key at a time, in exchange for music lessons. The lessons turn into erotic encounters, and Baines finds himself in a world of guilt. He realizes that silence is no indicator of this woman's power, and that he is taking away her only sense of strength. When this, unlikely, pair explore the passion unleashed in both of them, Stewart stands by, submerged in emotion he has never felt before. I find it hard to appreciate why Stewart, after sending for Ada thousands of miles, seems easily put off by her, never making her feel important, like Baines does.
             Baines, although very controlling in the beginning, turns out to be such a tame, understanding and articulate man. Stewart remains distant and hard to decipher. Though Stewart does confront Ada about her love for Baines, he still allows jealousy to consume him and violence to take over.

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