The first 20 minutes of the movie will make you weep with discomfort and paranoia. You’ll be sitting at the edge of your seat, clinging closer to the blanket, and jerking one tear after another.
The performances were intimate and depressingly raw. Vanessa Kirby proved her talent in this domestic drama, which also won her the best actress prize in Venice. After watching this delightfully destructive performance, we’re 100% sure that she’ll be running for the Oscars this year.
Previously, she has been praised for her performances in The Crown and the Mission Impossible franchise. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the 32-year-old critics’ darling has become a global icon. She has worked with some of the best indie directors in the last few years, and honestly, she’s worth all the hype.
In her latest – Pieces of a Woman – she plays the role of an American Jewish Martha, who is expecting her first child with husband Sean. She is the daughter of a wealthy mother and works in the corporate sector. In the first few minutes of the movie, it becomes clear that the relationship between her husband and mother is not healthy – both detest one another and the only person because of whom they remain civilized is Martha.
But this is a noise in the background; the movie is actually about Martha and her personal loss. She’s adamant on having a home birth and has her husband’s support in that regard.
The couple seems to have a loving relationship as he is seen to be consoling and supporting her. During contractions, Vanessa holds nothing back and gives an honest depiction of the pain and discomfort. She yowls and burps and takes directions from the nervous midwife.
You can see a variety of emotions flash on her face when she welcomes her first child to the world. You can’t help but shed a few tears when Martha holds her baby for the first time in her arms.
All this time, Sean can be seen feeling overwhelmed with fear but content. He wants to be a father but is unsure if he’ll ever be good enough. Later in the movie we also find out that he’s a recovering alcoholic.
But that’s when the real agony starts – the baby turns blue only a few minutes after birth and dies.
The director has treated this pain with utmost compassion and tried to show that the loss of a child is irreparable. It’s impossible to fill the void by just “planning another baby” – a typical mindset that most audiences must’ve had.
In the movie, you see Martha diving straight into work and not allowing the pain to consume her. Of course, when she neglects the most fierce emotions, they come out growling and how.
She is seen not wanting to talk about it, and every time her husband tries to start a conversation, she either changes the topic or leaves the room.
And what happens next is expected but real – the young couple breaks up in the most tragic and destructive way. They both love one another but have forgotten how to show that. And the most unfortunate part is that they don’t even try to fix the broken relationship.
This is when the manipulative and power-driven mother returns and makes the most of the situation. She also forces Martha to sue the midwife and start a new life.
This is when Martha gives us a heart-aching speech about what it feels like to be a trauma victim. She urges the people in the court room to speak their truth no matter how much others try to malign their story.
We witness a beautiful metaphor that gives this horrifying event a beautiful end. In the court room, when she is asked what she remembers of her dead child, she says that she smelled like apples. In fact, the first scene that we see after she loses her child is her at the grocery store buying apples. And in the final shot of the movie, we see a young girl mischievously climbing on top of a tree to pick an apple and eat it. Seconds later, you discover that its Martha daughter. And that’s when you learn that no matter what happens life goes on.
‘Pieces of a Woman’ is an important story to tell. It is estimated that roughly 50% of people have either experience miscarriage or know someone who has. The pain is undeniable and consuming.
Watch this movie for the crisp and compassionate script but also for the performances.
Check this space for more movie reviews! Do let us know if you agree with this ‘Pieces of a Woman review’ after watching the movie on Netflix as it released on Friday – it’s an Oscar-contending film after all!