Pieces of a Woman | Chicago Reader
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Pieces of a Woman

For a film titled Pieces of A Woman, it sure does spend quite a bit of time focusing on characters other than the main woman, Martha (Vanessa Kirby). Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s first English-language feature (cowritten with his real life partner, Kata Wéber) navigates the grief and pain that comes with losing a baby, but instead of giving nuance to Martha and her grief, the film instead explores the way this grief manifests differently in individual family members. For example, it often shifts to Martha’s mother (Ellen Burstyn) and her ideas of how Martha should navigate this pain, or her partner Sean (Shia LaBeouf) and his self-destructive and aggressive behavior––and given the recent allegations against LaBeouf, scenes where his character acts aggressively towards Martha are especially difficult to watch. Kirby’s performance as Martha never falters, though. She is quiet and insensate, but also self-destructive and angry. But Mundruczó and Weber never truly explore her emotions with as much detail and focus as they can. Because of this the film, despite its attempts, ends up feeling like a shallow depiction of female grief.



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