Watch A Piano for Mrs. Cimino
- 1 hr 40 min
The 1982 made-for-television movie A Piano for Mrs. Cimino stars Bette Davis as Esther Cimino, a Holocaust survivor who emigrated to America and settled in San Francisco. Esther is living a modest life in a small apartment, where she obsessively plays an out-of-tune piano. Her son Aaron (played by Dorian Harewood) is a successful businessman who wants his mother to move in with him and his family in a luxurious home as his way of making amends for not being there for her during her early years in America.
However, Esther, who is a fiercely independent woman, refuses to live with her son and his family. As she nears the end of her life, Esther wants only one thing—to own a good piano. The problem is that she cannot afford such a luxury, so she rents one instead. But when the piano is repossessed due to her failing health and inability to pay, Esther turns to her new friend Anna (Penny Fuller), a social worker who helps her to fight for her right to keep her piano.
As Esther battles with her landlord and the piano company that repossessed her instrument, she also struggles to come to terms with her past. Through flashbacks, the film shows the horrors that Esther endured during the Holocaust, which left her unable to trust others and to connect with her son. Esther's emotional journey is further complicated by the fact that she is losing her hearing, which makes the piano even more important as it is one of the few things in her life that brings her joy.
The movie is a poignant and powerful exploration of the human spirit and the resilience of those who have endured unimaginable hardship. Bette Davis delivers a stellar performance as Esther Cimino, capturing both the character's strength and vulnerability with great skill. Her portrayal of a Holocaust survivor who has rebuilt her life in America, but who is haunted by the memories of her past, is heartbreaking and inspiring.
Penny Fuller also gives a noteworthy performance as Anna, Esther's advocate and friend. Fuller brings a warmth and compassion to her portrayal of Anna, who is dedicated to helping Esther in any way she can. Alexa Kenin, who plays Aaron's daughter, also delivers a touching performance as she tries to connect with her grandmother, despite the generational and cultural differences between them.
The film is directed by George Schaefer, who is known for his work in television movies and series. He brings an understated approach to the material, allowing the performances and the story to shine. The movie's score is composed by Ernest Gold, who won an Academy Award for his work on the film Exodus.
A Piano for Mrs. Cimino is a moving and thought-provoking film that deals with universal themes of family, love, loss, and redemption. It is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the ability of humans to overcome even the most challenging circumstances. While the film has been overlooked over the years, it remains a gem of the made-for-television movie genre, and a must-see for fans of Bette Davis and anyone who enjoys great acting and storytelling.