Director: Kornel Mundruczo
Writer: Kata Weber, Ansuman Bhagat (Screenplay)
Starring: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, Sarah Snook, Molly Parker
Plot: When a young mother’s home birth ends in unfathomable tragedy, she begins a year-long odyssey of mourning that fractures relationships with loved ones in this deeply personal story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss.
Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Pieces of a Woman starts as we meet Martha (Kirby) and Sean (LaBeouf) who are expecting their first child together. With the homebirth about to take place, we see what should be a joyous occasion, turns into an unimaginable nightmare as they lose the baby moments after she is born.
Martha finds herself becoming distant from the world, looking to do whatever she can to move on from what happened, while Sean leads Martha’s mother Elizabeth (Burstyn) in a court case against the midwife, keep bringing up the memories of the tragic day.
Thoughts on Pieces of a Woman
Characters & Performances – Martha is the expecting mother, expecting to have the greatest moment of her life, the brief moment of joy is taken from her though, putting her in position no one would ever want to be near, losing a baby. Martha finds her own way to grief this, by becoming colder, trying to move on with her life the best way she could find, she is doing this alone, despite people around her knowing she needs them, her reluctance to find help sees her explosion being more powerful, as her decisions are always for the best. Vanessa Kirby has come along way from the scene stealing performances in the early seasons of The Crown to give what can only be described as the best performance of the year. Sean is the partner who works in construction, he has followed the wishes of Martha, but after they lose their baby, he starts to find himself heading down the criminal court case, breaking down in private, falling off the wagon falling for his addictions. Shia LaBeouf does give us a wonderful supporting role where he can show the pain in a different way to Kirby. Elizabeth is Martha’s mother that wants to help her and see her express the pain she has been through, she wants answers and feels like her daughter is grieving without her support. Ellen Burstyn gets the brilliance in the support role, which will see her shining in her scenes, which will bring the bigger emotionally driven scenes to life.
Story – The story here follows a couple that suffer the tragedy of losing a baby at childbirth and go in different directions to try and overcome the grief they have suffered. This is a powerful story that shows the true heartbreak a couple would suffer from losing a baby, how everyone will look to overcome this in different ways and how it will change somebody forever. We have a sequence in the story that shows the childbirth, which is around 25 minutes long, filmed like a single take, which shows all the stress and the emotional carnage that is left behind once it is all over. We do get to see a darker side to everything, with how the court case is bought up, which does seem unfair, but is solved in the best way.
Themes – Pieces of a Woman is a powerful drama, that focuses on the life of the couple in the aftermath, we get the construction of a bridge to help show the time lapse going on, with each new stage focusing on that more than anything else.