Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter) is a mute mother who is sold into marriage and shipped to New Zealand, along with her child, to begin a new life in a foreign country.
Although Ada is able to hear, she can't talk and instead communicates via her beloved piano and through sign language with her young daughter, Fiona (Anna Paquin).
Ada's marriage to a pioneer settler, Alistair Stewart (Sam Neil), starts badly when he refuses to transport her piano to his settlement. He eventually relents, only to give her piano away to his friend George Baines (Harvey Keitel), a shy settler who has integrated with the local Maori people. Baines offers to return the piano to Ada, with the proviso that she will give him lessons.
Harvey Keitel, Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin (who became one of the youngest actors to receive an Academy Award) offer stunning performances in this multi-award winning film.
Recently restored 35mm print.