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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'Pieces Of A Woman' Review

Make your one-shot sequences or cut together ’’one-shot’’ sequences and feed it to my veins. Furthermore, make them suitable for the genre you’re playing at and feed more of it to my veins. That might be the only proper thing you’ll remember from director Kornél Mundruczó and writer Kata Wéber’s (credits introduce the film as by both of them) heavy family/character drama Pieces Of A Woman where the main characters Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are expecting a daughter and have a home birth assisted by a midwife, Eve (Molly Parker). That is of course the basis of that long scene and something goes horribly wrong, setting up rest of the movie. First third-or-so which features that long scene is beautiful and heartbreaking but the rest of the film is just way too okay considering how spectacular Kirby is.

There are good supporting performances inside the film (Parker, LaBeouf, Sarah Snook as Martha’s lawyer cousin) but Vanessa Kirby is clearly the one driving this vehicle full-speed and with adamant control. Her outing seems fully fleshed out, from the blocking to the reactions on her face, even how she utilises pitch when speaking to different characters as the story moves along. Even when the movie stumbles in the second half, she doesn’t go to slumber all the way but instead there continues to be strong scenes throughout the runtime. Subtle nuances that support Martha’s journey are of course the decisions of the make-up department. The birth scene stands out obviously as far as their work gets portrayed but the usage of makeup as the time goes on also reflect Martha’s mental state and surely helped Kirby in playing that.

’’Pieces’’ doesn’t really ever succeed in breaking the surface after its title card but neither does it really ever sink very far down. Where it takes a tumble is losing much of the focus from Martha especially and from Sean to a degree as well, that is also why the rare instance of missing the mark on name of the film comes to play. The film builds up to Martha (supposedly the ’’woman’’ that has the pieces) dealing with tragedy, emotional availability and even body trauma but instead we get steered away from the woman. Courtroom drama that ensues feels hastily put together, Ellen Burstyn (as Martha’s mother) goes on weird monologues and people talk about metaphors unnaturally because the filmmakers failed to put those into Martha’s story properly. Eventually we don’t get to know much about anyone and the ending scene feels undeserved due to the earlier conflicts. There are no brain-numbingly dumb decisions but the latter half is just meandering.

Smileys: Vanessa Kirby, makeup

Frowneys: Pacing

He didn’t have quite enough lines for me to put him next to Kirby’s name but Benny Safdie (as Chris) killed it here or is that just me?


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