• Joshua Buck

Pieces of a woman (2020) Review

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.

Director: Kornel Hundruczo

Writer: Kata Weber

Producer: Ashley Levinson

Genre: Drama

The first 30 minutes of the movie we witness the young couple, Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and construction worker, her husband, Sean (Shia Labeouf). This film is filmed in a one-take style that last half an hour. The scene is warmly lit with oranges and a soft camera to try and create a calm tone. At the same time though the shots were tight and mainly filmed in close-ups focusing more on details of the facial expressions allowing us to focus on the intimacy rather than anything else than the pain this couple is going through during the labour process. This scene helps focus the story and tell us to prepare for an intimate, emotional and a hard to watch the story. It is because of elements like this that Netflix seems to have mastered the festival formula, reminding me of Marriage Story but a bit slower but also focusing on difficult subjects and telling real people stories.

After the baby dies, we see the many ways that the couple deal with the loss of showcasing different aspects of grief. Sean is more emotional and is ready to focus his attention on coping with the loss by burying the child compared to the mother who simply doesn’t know how to cope with losing a part of her that she held for only a couple of minutes.

Marthas character throughout the movie is kept very much to herself and she barely speaks but when it comes to the court scene she eventually opens up and it is really welcomed as it is a massive unravelling of what has been going on inside her head and how she feels about it. It is only when she opens up and talks, it becomes easier for her to accept her loss and she begins to break up the clouds that have been hovering above her head.

This film was a character study on grief and the mother had a metaphor for her daughter saying that her baby smelt like apples and when she ate the apple, she would take the seeds out and try to make them grow. When the seeds finally sprout it signifies that she isn’t necessarily over her grief but has learnt how to deal with it. The end of the movie shows us an apple tree fully grown and it almost signifies that with the tree grown Martha has grown and life has become easier for her to deal with.

A quick mention to Shia LaBeouf who I thought was fantastic and is an actor who doesn’t get enough praise and how he has been snubbed of a Golden Globe after a performance that looks so internal and he manages to bring that out and that is such a great skill for an actor to have and it was done so well and his Golden Globe snub angers me.

To conclude, this film was very intimate and I can see why Vanessa Kirby has been nominated for a Golden Globe and this film provided such a hard story that tells real peoples lives and shows that Netflix is coming along really well and learning how the festival season really works, and fair play to them. They are telling great stories.

I rate this film: 4/5.

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