Updated: January 10, 2021 13:01 IST
Rating : 4/5
Pieces of a Woman stars Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, and Ellen Burstyn in leading roles. Molly Parker, Sarah Snook, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, Jimmie Fails and Ellen Burstyn play supporting roles. Directed by Kornél Mundruczóa, the film follows the lives of expecting parents, Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) who navigate grief in the aftermath of a tragedy.
The film begins with Sean (Shia LaBeouf) leaving his worksite to be with his wife Martha (Vanessa Kirby) who's about to go into labour. Things don't go according to plan. Martha's midwife is unreachable. Eva (Molly Parker), a stand-in steps in. What follows is a 25-minute that captures all the emotional and physical labour that Martha goes through during childbirth. At the end of it all, the couple is happy to see their bundle of joy. The joy is short-lived as the child dies minutes after birth. What follows is a tedious year wherein Martha deals with her grief, tries to work on her marriage and faces her midwife in court.
Vanessa Kirby's performance is just brilliant. Vanessa Kirby, who recently rose to fame with her portrayal of Princess Margaret in Netflix's The Crown proves yet again what an outstanding actress she is. Shia LaBeouf and Ellen Burstyn shine in their roles. LaBeouf plays the character with emotional depth. Ellen Burstyn's chemistry with Vanessa Kirby as the protagonist's mother is pitch-perfect. Molly Parker offers a wonderful performance as a vilified midwife on trial. The rest of the supporting cast too bring life to their characters very well. But at the end of the day, Pieces of a Woman is Kirby's film.
We've seen blood and gore on the silver screen in the form of murder or torture. Kornél Mundruczóa brings a nuanced approach to depicting a painful labour.
The film's direction is absolutely splendid. The film's overall production value, cinematography and background score are perfect.
While the film is very engrossing, it fails to uphold momentum that the first part of the film builds in the middle sections. However, the ending does leave the audience satisfied as it culminates quite well. The film introduces several plot threads but does not address them all when the focus shifts to Martha's arc. The film's hype focus on the main character is definitely justified but it does leave one wondering and pondering over unanswered questions.
All in all, Pieces of a Woman is a must-watch. The film will leave you with a cloud of discomfort with its graphic depictions. However, it is worth it. Maybe this is what the makers of the film have in mind. The film brings to the forefront the complexities of childbirth and grief that parents go through when they lose a child. This is a subject that is often not seen on the silver screen. If you're up for some intense drama, graphic imagery and a good story, Pieces of a Women is just the film for you.