Pieces of a Woman

Men beware. Vanessa Kirby follows Carrie Mulligan in Promising Young Woman as two emotionally despondent women living in a human pressure cooker.

Pieces of a Woman

The devastating performances of Vanessa Kirby and Ellen Burstyn allow this film to outrun some unfortunate weaknesses.  Ms. Kirby plays Martha, a woman whose first child dies in an agonizing birthing process at home.  This moment begins the movie and Martha and most of the audience will be left emotionally paralyzed.

The film spans Martha’s journey in Massachusetts from September to April.  Though Ms. Burstyn is not particularly likeable in her aggressive role as Martha’s mother, her horrifying story relating her experience as a child in a Nazi concentration camp allows everyone on and off the screen to peer into her soul.

But it is Ms. Kirby that dominates the entire film with her blonde hair constantly disheveled, she aimlessly drifts through life as she is urged to support the criminal prosecution of the midwife played by Evan Woodward. 

However, it is here that the movie lost traction, particularly from an attorney’s standpoint.  First of all Shia LaBeouf’s character evolves into a hateful gad as he morphs from Martha’s caring live-in other to having an affair with the Prosecutor (Sarah Snook) handling the criminal case and the two are banging each other while comforting a grieving Martha!

On top of that, the courtroom scenes are amateurish by any definition, Director Kornèl Mundruczò apparently did not care enough to address the fact that there was no evidence to support criminal wrongdoing.

In any event, ignore the film’s flaws and give the movie a chance.  I suspect that Ms. Kirby could very well challenge for an Oscar and that is reason enough.