The only thing that is missing is the freedom to make that choice, the freedom to do it without pain or sacrifice. But freedom always comes with a price, especially for women. In the process of gaining her choice, Ada loses a finger, loses her piano, and almost loses her life.
We have to also look at history in the film. The Piano seems historically correct because women didn't have the right to choose their mates during this time. Love almost always came at some price. Ada chose to express her love the only way she knew how -- through her piano. But she is not making the right choice, because in the process she is sacrificing herself. She is unable to stand up for what is right because the pain is too great and too lonely to bear.
While I think Hook's view of male supremacy seems somewhat harsh, I think she has a point. There is clearly male domination in the film; Ada was dominated by her husband, father, and her lover -- by every male she came to love. But this is also where we can discuss money as being the motive for everything. It seems to come up in almost any argument, and it can be argued in regard to this film, too. Ada, while limited in her choices because of the times, still had choices before her. She had choices of love, of money, of lifestyle, and ultimately she chose the easy way, which involved being with a man she did not love. In gangsta rap, it's the same thing. These women, while they may not agree or like the way they are portrayed in these videos, are ultimately willing to sacrifice their image and every other woman's image, for the money. Ada did the same thing, she could have been poor, her daughter could have learned differently about love, but her love for the piano motivated her to throw everything else out the door. Love may have been part of her motivation, but it wasn't the greatest, and it wasn't what ultimately prevailed.
All the disturbing moments in this movie, not surprisingly, revolve around the piano, its voice, and how these men attempt to either restrict or manipulate it to get what they want. Ada's sense of self is dangered because of it. One hand, she is being liberated and given the freedom to express herself, on the other hand, she is stifling her expression by her need to have a "a good man." A "good man" never comes without sacrifice, a point that Bell Hook's make in her essay, although not in those words.
Ada is an unconventional woman. The story not only gets in the middle of a love triangle, but examines this women and everything she does. Although she chooses to be silent, everything else about her to not be silent and victimized. She represents a time when women were little more than possessions to be traded and bartered through a simple exchange of letters. But she is not as weak as she might want people to think. I believe the director did a good job in showing this contrast between the weak side of her and the strong side of her. Women often say one thing, while meaning a whole other thing.
Ada portrays a little bit of women everywhere even today -- their placating ways, their struggle with self-identity, their need to be what they are desired to be. Bell Hook believes that women are victims of misogyny, of white supremacy, and other evils in this film, but it always comes down to a choice women make again and again. Ultimately, the average women finds her greatest joy in being what a man wants her to be, and for that we shouldn't feel sorry for her and claim she is being victimized. The Piano, and even our culture today, does illustrate everything Ms. Hook's claims but it is a history and a future that women as individuals perpetuate. While Ada, we assume out of her own accord, travels around the world to be with her husband, doesn't make a single effort to make that life work. The Piano raises interesting and important questions about morality, love and the ends justifying the means. it's a story of manipulation, blackmail and unexpected attraction. it's everything Bell Hook's believes it to be…