Kornél Mundruczó’s gut wrenching and award winning drama, Pieces of a Woman, follows the deeply harrowing journey of Martha, (Vanessa Kirby) who life changes forever when her home birth ends in tragedy.
An intimate and devastating portrait of the traumatic aftermath of losing a child, Pieces of a Woman hits hard.
The opening act is an unbroken 30 minute experience that is momentously devastating. Mundruczó is unfraid to share this unimagimable and traumatic experience in such so raw and real way. This is one of the most realistic and difficult sequences I’ve witnessed on screen, yet I am so blown away by the fearlessness to tell this story authentically.
Unfortunately, Pieces of a Woman loses its energy from that point on, resulting in a melodramatic series of striking performance-driven sequences. But when the film does have those moments, it succeeds in poignantly displaying the power and complexities of grief.
The film watching experience is comparative to that of Manchester by the Sea, where you know you’re in for a depressing and emotional ride but you’re there because you know the driver is going to DELIVER.
Except unlike Casey Afflack driving in Manchester by the Sea, Vanessa Kirby has left me in awe.
Pieces of a Woman is nothing without Kirby. She is a sure fire front runner this awards season and a tour de force. If it weren’t for her commitment to gather all the scattered pieces of the Martha’s story, and bring them to life in a truly remarkable way, the story would have ultimately lost its impact.
Oscar-winner and acting legend, Ellen Burstyn, also shines in her supporting role as Martha’s mother, delivering one of the most powerful and fiery monologues of the season.
I admit, given the recent claims made against Shia LeBeouf, it was extra tough to watch him playing a caring boyfriend. However, he does do a solid job, although, compared to the rest of the ensemble, he feels slightly miscast.
So grab some tissues, a comfy pillow and strap in.
Then please go watch something more lighthearted…like The Muppets.
Final Thoughts: Kirby gives a masterful performance in a devastating Pieces of a Woman.