Under the Piano (1996) starring Amanda Plummer, Megan Follows, Teresa Stratas, James Carroll directed by Stefan Scaini Movie Review

Under the Piano (1996)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Megan Follows in Under the Piano (1996)

A Minor Concerto

As an autistic child Rosetta (Megan Follows) was a mystery to her parents especially her mother Regina (Teresa Stratas) who decided at an early age that Rosetta was not capable of looking after herself and never will be anything but a burden. Even when Rosetta showed some musical ability her mother, a former opera singer who was bitter over giving up her career for the family, was quick to put it down to just mimicry with only Rosetta's sister Franny (Amanda Plummer), who had her own problems having been born with a disabled arm, sticking up for her. With their mother's bitterness getting worse it leads to Franny leaving home but having to return when out of despair Rosetta drank a bottle of ammonia. And when some doctors suggest a lobotomy for Rosetta it will take everything Franny has to protect her sister.

Inspired by a true story "Under the Piano" is one of those dramas which grabs you simply through the characters and the actors portrayals. Yes there is this storyline which has drama, intrigue, romance and comedy as well as sisterly love but it isn't what has you gripped. Having said that what story there is is perfect as a vehicle for the characters as we get a moment of drama as we see Rosetta drinking ammonia before the story flashes back to the start and Rosetta as a young baby.

So what do I mean; well first there is Teresa Stratas who plays Regina as a total shrew, bitter over the loss of her career because of her children and cruel towards any of them who show any sort of promise especially musically. You almost get a sense that she enjoys being cruel to both Rosetta and Franny, going out of her way to be harsh to Rosetta in front of Franny as she knows it winds her up.

Then you have the excellent combined performances of Megan Follows and Amanda Plummer as whilst each play individual characters with Plummer delivering the believability of a caring sister the two sisters work as one, they need each other in life to function. And it has to be said that between director Stefan Scaini's clever direction and the sweet performance from Megan Follows it is easy to fall in love with Rosetta and enjoy the natural comedy of how she is, how her repeating things can break the ice.

What this all boils down to is that "Under the Piano" is a pleasant little distraction of a movie which thanks to strong characters and strong performances draws you in and despite the drama riddle storyline puts a smile on your face.