PIECES OF A WOMAN (2020) – My rating: 6/10

Pieces of a Woman is a drama directed by Kornél Mundruczó, from a screenplay by Kata Wéber. An American-Canadian co-production, the film is directly related to Mundruczó and Wéber’s 2018 stage play of the same name, performed by the artistic ensemble of TR Warszawa. Martin Scorsese serves as one of the executive producers. A young woman is traumatized after giving birth at home — somewhat slow and definitely depressing but well-acted.

Martha Weiss (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean Carson (Shia LaBeouf) are expecting their first child. Martha goes into labor and Sean calls their midwife, Barbara who is unavailable. Martha has started labor and is upset that Barbara is with another mom in labor but after speaking with her on the phone, she allows Barbara to send another midwife, Eva Woodward (Molly Parker), in her place. Martha struggles with nausea as well as pain during contractions.  When she reaches ten centimeters, Eva realizes the baby’s heart rate has dropped dangerously low. Sean asks Eva if they are safe to continue and Eva says yes. Martha soon gives birth to a baby girl. Eva then notices the baby is turning blue and attempts to revive her, but she goes into cardiac arrest and dies. This opening is very powerful and details a woman’s worst nightmare. 


A month later, the couple is still very emotional about losing their child.  They attend an appointment at the coroner’s office to try and determine the cause of death.  The only information the coroner can supply is that the baby was in a low-oxygen environment.  Overwhelmed with grief, Sean storms out of the office leaving Martha to probe for more information without him.  She is informed that some parents donate the dead body to science which she agrees to do.

The couple’s relationship is dwindling because they are grieving differently but mostly because Martha can’t seem to move on.  Martha’s mother Elizabeth Weiss (Ellen Burstyn) is insisting on filing charges against the midwife but really blames her daughter because she didn’t want to have the baby traditionally in a hospital.  As Martha and Sean’s relationship continues to deteriorate, the trial against Eva begins. Sean has an affair and Elizabeth becomes more vocal which strains Martha and her relationship even more.,

While I thought the acting was brilliant, I didn’t particularly like the plot. I’m conscious that stuff happens, good and bad, what I dislike is an ending that leads you to your own resolution.  e.g. Maybe she adopted, or maybe she had another child, or maybe it wasn’t her child at all, etc.  The way things were left with Pieces of a Woman, left too much to my imagination.  There are other reveals left in Pieces of a Woman to evaluate, however you should watch the film and determine your own thoughts. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 221 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website’s critic’s consensus reads: “Pieces of a Woman struggles to maintain momentum after a stunning opening act, but Vanessa Kirby’s performance makes the end-result a poignant portrait of grief. Vanessa Kirby was nominated at the 78th Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. Check It Out!

[PIECES OF A WOMAN is Oscar-nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best Actress — Totaling 1 Nomination]

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