A Review of Netflix’s ‘Pieces of a Woman’

***Before I get started, I’d like to put a CONTENT WARNING. Parts of the material in this film and review may be triggering for some as it deals with the loss of a child as well as substance abuse and domestic violence.***

As per usual with my film reviews, this will contain spoilers from the film. If you wish to avoid those before seeing the movie, feel free to revisit this article after visiting Netflix to watch “Pieces of a Woman.” 

“Pieces of a Woman” is a story of grief, heartbreak and attempted healing. The story introduces us to Sean (Shia LaBeouf) and Martha (Vanessa Kirby), a young couple who are eagerly preparing for the birth of their first child, a little girl. Unfortunately, when the time comes for their daughter to be born, things don’t go to plan. Martha’s midwife is currently assisting with another birth so a different midwife named Eva (Molly Parker) comes to help instead. During labor, she notices that there are some issues with the baby’s heart rate and she does everything she can to help remedy the situation and deliver a healthy baby. Eventually the baby is born and things seem to be going well until the baby is no longer able to breathe and ends up passing away. 

The loss of their baby causes an understandable rift in the dynamic of the marriage between Martha and Sean. Martha becomes more withdrawn, and less vulnerable. She moves forward in a way that seems almost stiff. Sean becomes unhinged, he turns to drugs, violence, and infidelity becoming completely different from the man we see early on in the film. 

This movie takes an interesting approach to the way that the loss of a child may be experienced by different people. It’s uncomfortable and heart wrenching. You feel such empathy for the characters, in particular Kirby’s Martha who feels her whole sense of womanhood being brought into question, not only by strangers, but by those who are closest to her. 

However, while the film does do well with some aspects of this story, there are also some issues I had with the film. The beginning and the ending of the story were extremely strong. You find yourself feeling a lot of emotions in certain areas and then there seems to be a lull. One that can leave you easily distracted from the movie’s message. I went from wondering how 45 minutes could go so quickly to feeling every second of the two hours the film took. 

The character development was also lacking in some areas, particularly Sean. We go from seeing him as an earnest and kind man to someone violent and brutish and then he’s seemingly gone all together. While this isn’t an unheard of story for a character to have, the way he went through it left me feeling it was underdeveloped. 

Overall, I felt that the story had good bones, there was promise to the structure, and Kirby’s acting was beautiful in every way. But, I definitely think that there were issues in the rest of the execution. 

In my opinion, “Pieces of a Woman” gets a 6/10.