The Piano Teacher

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Released 2002

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Movie Summary

Director:
Michael Haneke
Released:
2002
Rating:
R
The Piano Teacher is a 2001 French-language drama directed by Michael Haneke. The film is based on the novel Die Klavierspielerin by Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek. Professor Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert) is a middle-aged piano teacher at the prestigious Vienna Conservatory. She is beautiful, talented and well respected, but she is also domineering like her mother (Annie Girardot), with whom she lives. Erika seems to live a well-structured, ordinary life, but she has strongly repressed, dark sexual urges underneath her prim exterior. She watches depraved pornography, spies on people having sex, and participates in erotic self-mutilation. Walter Klemmer (Beno''t Magimel) is a seventeen-year-old student from a wealthy family who is attracted to Erika. Although Erika is reluctant at first, she slowly returns his affection. When Erika then tries to pull him into her violent, disturbing sexual games, Walter must decide exactly how far he will go to be with her.

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Metacritic Score

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    The Piano Teacher will surely be too strong for some audiences and is best left to those who like films that take big risks and get away with them.

  • 80

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    Has the feel of a clinical case study elevated into a subject of aesthetic and philosophical discourse.

  • 50

    Variety David Rooney

    Whatever valid points are being explored are hopelessly clouded by the film's unwavering earnestness as it descends into silliness and excess.

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More Info About This Movie

Categories

Arts, Drama, Music

Themes

Foreign Language, Love & Romance