Pieces of a Woman engages with many topical issues surrounding women’s health, and the connection of biology to psychology. It won’t quite leave one in pieces, but the film has a subtle grace all of its own.
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After the implosive force of those first 30 minutes, the rest of the movie can’t help but feel like a self-defeating scavenger hunt through the rubble.
Those with the stomach for a forcefully acted representation of the gut-wrenching impact and long-range after-effects of sudden infant death will be rewarded with moments both powerful and affecting.
When the film’s actors are given space to etch their characters’ feelings, they turn in strikingly naturalistic performances.
Wéber’s writing and Kirby’s performance, working in concert with Mundruczó’s dazzling, multifaceted direction, Howard Shore‘s gorgeously mood-appropriate score and, again, Loeb’s drifting, searching, soulful camera together create, from so many disparate pieces, an entirely complete portrait, that even suggests further internal universes still to be explored, universes every one of us contains.
Pieces of a Woman offers a superb performance by Vanessa Kirby, and the most unnerving opening of any film in 2020, but the familiar examination of marital disintegration struggles to sustain interest or justify its lengthy runtime.
As fragmented as its title suggests, Pieces of a Woman contains parts of a good film, possibly a great one.
Mundruczó and Wéber gave her the pieces from which to assemble this character, but only Kirby could have taken that puzzle and turned it into such an astonishing portrait.
Pieces of a Woman is grounded and intensely personal. Much of that is due to the towering and heartbreaking performance by Kirby.
Viewed as an acting masterclass, the film is bruisingly impressive in its way. The principal actors raise the roof; each gets to do their big turn for the camera. But it feels a little schooled, a little staged, like a workshop at the Actors’ Studio.