Pregnancy drama in ‘Pieces of a woman’

In happy expectation. Not a term that better describes the feeling Martha and Sean share. The child on the way — their first — will seal the unity of this Boston couple, strengthen their bond, make them a real family. They want to do it together, give birth at home, in all intimacy.

Everything has been discussed extensively with the obstetrician. Who, just at the moment the baby presents himself, accompanies another childbirth and therefore sends a replacement in Pieces of a woman.

Anyone who has ever experienced a pregnancy and birth up close will recognize the tension. The expectation that it will be okay, the fear that something will go wrong. The feeling that there‘s nothing to control. That you are at the mercy of primal forces and have to rely on the people who know how to manage them. It’s a whole task. Especially in the western world, where everything seems so madeable. Vanessa Kirby and Shia LeBeouf, like Martha and Sean, embody that split between surrender and control.

Continuous delivery scene

The Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó (White god) based his English debut on a scenario by his wife Kata Wéber. Their film is carried by actress Vanessa Kirby (The crown, Mission: Impossible – Fallout), who not only makes a deep impression in a 23 minute ‘one taker’ (uninterrupted scene) of Martha‘s actual birth.

Inval-obstetrician Eva (Molly Parker) tries to guide Martha through that natural violence with warm attention. Meanwhile, the death-nervous Sean is bewilding his intrinsic powerlessness, with Shia LaBeouf rarely showing himself vulnerable. Yet it is mainly his opponent who knows how to keep our attention continuously. Also later, when the couple of their pink cloud is thundered.

In Pieces of a woman filmed with little excitability, Unbearable suffering, it appears to be a fission agaric, while suffocating family patterns also make themselves felt.

With a great Ellen Burstyn as Martha’s dominant mother, who wants to identify a culprit and be punished for the tragedy that has taken place. How her daughter sweeps herself together and wavering regain her balance and individuality, creates a hint of hope in this poignant melodrama. Like a rim of golden light around an ink-black thundercloud.


‘Pieces of a woman’ can be seen on Netflix from Friday.