Starring: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBoeuf, Ellen Burstyn
Director: Kornél Mundruczó
Running Time: 128 mins
Pieces Of A Woman is an American film about a woman who struggles to cope in the aftermath of a devastating childbirth, causing her personal life to go into a spiral.
A striking slice-of-life drama at its best, Pieces Of A Woman manages to deliver some moments of genuinely gut-punching devastation in its story of the long aftermath of a heartbreaking childbirth.
Where the film falls down, however, is in its inability to populate the majority of its runtime with drama and emotional resonance of a comparable scale, proving surprisingly underwhelming in between its main flashpoints.
There are lots of positives and negatives to be found in Pieces Of A Woman, but let’s start on the bright side by talking about what this film really wants to talk about.
Though the story may start off with the unforgettable heartbreak of a childbirth with complications, what Pieces Of A Woman is really about is the healing process, and the terrible ups and downs that everybody goes through in the search for answers and peace of mind.
It’s a powerful central theme that’s largely handled well throughout, and the journey that we see grieving Martha (played by Vanessa Kirby) go on is particularly striking, with the film’s screenplay touching on some brutal but hugely important truths of moving on in life.
In terms of Kirby’s performance, there’s no denying that she gives it her all in portraying the deep-seated grief and devastation of her character in the wake of the trauma of all traumas.
What’s so great about Kirby’s performance is her commitment to staying down-to-earth through the whole film, demonstrating her character’s overwhelming sadness not through melodramatic theatrics, but through acting that shows she really understands the magnitude of her character’s story.
A reserved and understated mentality doesn’t just define Kirby, however, as the whole film is distinctly down-to-earth. That, however, brings with it both advantages and disadvantages in the story the film is trying to tell.
For the most part, the overarching story of Pieces Of A Woman is utterly enthralling, and the themes and atmosphere that pervade through the whole film are hugely powerful.
However, it would be wrong to deny that Pieces Of A Woman doesn’t use all of its time to perfect effect, often seriously lagging as a result of its slow pacing and slice-of-life style throughout.
In between its moments of great drama, the film is unfortunately really dull, and despite featuring fascinating dramatic themes that bear relevance to the whole story, it’s not enough to keep you fully enthralled all the way through.
As a result, for all its fantastic dramatic depth, measured and reserved storytelling and acting and powerful and important themes, Pieces Of A Woman is far from the mesmerising and emotionally captivating slice-of-life drama it aims to be. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.0 overall.