Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks) is a reporter for a Washington news show and Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) is the producer who, unbeknownst to her, has his heart. Along comes pretty boy Tom Grunick (William Hurt) who has no experience but eventually shows some natural talent and there is a love triangle.
I don’t know why, but I always thought this was a drama about serious news things rather than being a love story. It’s great, very much of its time, though Holly Hunter gets to play a pretty awesome woman, and so it was a little frustrating that it ended up having a main plot around her love life. Still, definitely worth a watch.
Broadcast News was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (William Hurt), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Holly Hunter), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Albert Brooks), Best Writing – Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (James L. Brooks), Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.
Small town New Zealand. A twelve-year-old girl, Tui (Jacqueline Joe) is found in a cold lake, possibly suicidal. When it is revealed that she is pregnant, it sends things into a spin. Luckily, Robin (Elisabeth Moss) is in town. She is a police officer who specialises in working with children. The local police, including boss Al (David Wenham) are reluctant to let her in the ranks, but she will not let go. Then there is Tui’s family; her mother lives away from them, Tui lives with her family, extreme bad-buy and sleaze ball Matt (Peter Mullan) and his adult sons. Add to the mix a ‘guru’, GJ (Holly Hunter) who has brought a group of battered women to a piece of property on the lake that may or may not have been legally sold to her. And then there is Robin’s background, never far away.
Depressing as hell. One of my mates couldn’t get through it, feeling increasing sucked into the darkness of this world. And it is dark. But wonderful. It has all the beauty and complex story telling that you would want coming from director Jane Campion. Wow.
Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), a woman who does not speak is married to a man she has not met and sent with her young daughter, Flora (Anna Paquin) to New Zealand, a country only just being colonised by the English. Her new husband, Alisadair Stewart (Sam Neill) is emotionally distant and has no idea of how to deal with a woman. But then she starts a relationship with George Baines (Harvey Keitel) which compromises her own security.
It is certainly a stunning film and I recall it being highly acclaimed at the time. I found it difficult to get past Harvey Keitel’s mysterious accent (I think Scottish?), though he had a lot of passion. But the love story is terrible – the idea that he has to blackmail her into sexual favours (although they are often quite tame, such as lifting her skirt to reveal a tiny hole in her stocking that he then fondles as she is playing the piano. Then, after resisting for some time, she falls in love? I mean, he was a potential escape from the brutal life Stewart had dragged her into, but it was actually extremely unpleasant to watch. Perhaps, if there has been some suggestion that Baines had feeling for her and it was not just a convenient way to bed a white woman, maybe then I’d have accepted it. As it was, it pretty much ruined the film for me, despite the beauty, it was a story about two creepy men dominating a woman. Oh and the piano music was horribly repetitive and drove me to despair.
The Piano won Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Holly Hunter), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Anna Paquin) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Jane Campion) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Jane Campion), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Film Editing.