Review: Pieces of a Woman

Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are first time parents whose homebirth with midwife Eva (Molly Parker) goes terribly wrong. Now they're forced to weather the storm that is the aftermath of something so tragic.

Much has been made of this film's 30 minute one take birth scene at the beginning, and for good reason. It's a wonderful piece of filmmaking and makes the scene feel so authentic. We as the audience know something is wrong by the look on Eva's face, but we can also see how it's something Martha and Sean don't notice right away. We're in it with them. While the rest of the film is still good, it doesn't match the brilliance of that scene. 

The script doesn't do Martha any favors when it comes to fleshing her out. We don't know what she does for a living, how she feels going into this pregnancy, whereas the first few minutes we spend with Sean we get all of those answers for his side of things. Martha is understandably depressed and withdrawn. She rarely verbalizes her inner thoughts. It makes for a great performance from Kirby but a slightly frustrating one from an audience perspective because I wanted to hear what she had to say. Aside from a few small arguments, and the big scene at the end, there's not a lot of that.

I thought more of the movie would be focused on the court case that's in the background throughout, but it's really only the last 15 minutes or so of the film. It does get a bit melodramatic, but I think it's what the film needed. Ellen Burstyn, who plays Martha's mother also gives a great supporting performance. Shia LaBeouf, given the accusations in his personal life right now feels very awkward to watch. He's always been an actor I enjoyed but I'm having to reevaluate now given all this new information. Sean feels like Shia himself. 

Overall, even with that issue I had with the script, I still think this film is very well done. The score is absolutely beautiful and Kirby is as great as everyone says she is, I just think we should've known a bit more about Martha.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "She smelled like an apple." - Martha (Vanessa Kirby)


  1. I'm glad it worked better for you. It was too boring for me, and I hated how the script treated Martha. As you said, we don't know what she does (it really bothered me to watch those few moments in the office without knowing what her job even was) nor how she is felling about the pregnancy and all that happened afterwards. The first half hour is terrific though and I really liked the performances, both from Kirby and Burstyn.

    1. Especially considering she has to be pretty high up in her company to have that type of office and that nice of a house lol. She shouldn't have been this much of a mystery.

  2. yes, that shortchanging of its female protagonist really took me out. she should be what the film is about

    1. Exactly, I loved the piece you wrote for this film as well. I echo your thoughts.

  3. I'm gonna give this a go when I can. Though yes, it is weird to watch Shia now.. he has always been troubled but on screen he is brilliant. Sad his movies have that dark shadow over them now...

  4. I downloaded this film yesterday as I hope to watch it before the Oscars. I just want to see it for Ellen Burstyn and Vanessa Kirby. Shia, fuck him. He's an overrated piece of shit who thinks he's hot shit only for the fact that he takes himself way too seriously to the point that it covers up for the fact that he and always has been a fucking asshole who needs to get his ass kicked for all of the shit he's done to women.

    1. Shia is disappointing, I can't like him anymore after all this has come to light. Watching him in this does feel like he's playing himself too after what FKA Twigs said.


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