- “Pieces of a Woman” is a powerhouse of a movie, led by an amazing performance by Vanessa Kirby.
- The movie also stars Shia LaBeouf and Ellen Burstyn.
- “Pieces of a Woman” will be available on Netflix later this year.
- Everyone should experience this movie at least once in their life.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Be warned, when you watch “Pieces of a Woman” it’s going to stay with you. For days.
That’s a testament not just to director Kornél Mundruczó and writer Kata Wéber but also the perfect cast that includes Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Snook, Benny Safdie, Molly Parker, Benny Safdie, and the legendary Ellen Burstyn.
But the biggest reason that the movie is so powerful is because of its lead, Vanessa Kirby.
The film follows Martha (Kirby) who is struggling with the death of her baby during childbirth. It’s an unthinkable scenario that becomes all the more disturbing to watch because of Mundruczó’s decision to start the movie with a 30-minute single shot of the home birth. The audience watches in real-time as Martha delivers the baby and moments later, it dies.
We then follow Martha and her partner Sean (Shia LaBeouf) as their relationship disintegrates as both of them grieve in different ways. The situation is made even worse by Martha’s mother (Burstyn), who pushes her to bring charges against the midwife (Parker) for negligence.
But what will really stick with you about this movie are its simple moments. Like watching Martha eat an apple (we learn that before the baby died, Martha thought the baby smelled like an apple). Or when Sean, who is also struggling with his sobriety, screams to the sky along the Boston Harbor.
This is one of those movies that’s beautiful and gut-wrenching all at the same time.
Why you should watch: Vanessa Kirby is a tour-de-force
You might be reading this and saying to yourself, Why in the world would I want to watch this movie? It’s because the performance by Kirby, though it is incredible, is also relatable. You might know a Martha, or you are a Martha, and you have to see how her story will end.
Kirby has been impressing audiences since playing Princess Margaret in the first two seasons of “The Crown.” Since then, she’s been in big blockbusters like “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.” Her performance in “Pieces of a Woman” shows that her career is about to hit the stratosphere.
Just the 30-minute birthing scene alone should tell you that Kirby is an amazing talent. As the movie goes on, watching her play someone who is going through an unthinkable tragedy is profound.
It also helped that Mundruczó surrounded Kirby with wonderful actors. LaBeouf is his usual captivating self as he plays a blue-collar guy who tries desperately to help Martha. And then there’s the confrontation between Martha and her mother, played expertly by Burstyn. It’s clear from their scenes why both Kirby and Burstyn should be Oscar frontrunners in the lead actress and supporting actress categories.
But no one is upstaging Kirby. This is her movie.
Bottom line: It’s a movie you have to experience at least once
Throughout “Pieces of a Woman,” I was thinking about how the landscape of moviemaking has changed so much.
In the 1970s, this is a movie that would have been made at a studio starring the likes of Jack Nicholson and Jane Fonda. And while these days, Hollywood seems more concerned about getting audiences to watch the next blockbuster than explore the psychology of a grieving mother, it’s good to know that there are filmmakers out there like Kornél Mundruczó who can sneak a movie like this into the world.
And thanks to Netflix, which bought the film, it will soon be seen the world over.
Like many of those 1970s movies, you won’t gather the family to watch this with a tub of popcorn. “Pieces of a Woman” is a movie that’s best absorbed on your own with zero distractions.
It’s a movie you have to experience, at least once in your life.
“Pieces of a Woman” at its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and will be available on Netflix later this year.
Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.
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