Get a taste of some of the year’s best performances with the Pieces of a Woman trailer. Netflix just dropped the trailer for Pieces of a Woman, which was one of few festival standouts this year. The film wowed audiences at Venice and Toronto, particularly for its emotionally-charged performances. (Although the ending admittedly divided the Shelf team.) Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) won a well-deserved Best Actress prize at Venice for her shattering turn as Martha, a woman who loses her baby shortly after giving birth.
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó, the aforementioned tragedy plays out in an intense 20-minute long take that is among the year’s top cinematic feats. The scene pairs Kirby with Canadian treasure Molly Parker (House of Cards) as a midwife who may or may not be to blame. Ellen Burstyn plays Martha’s mother in a brief but memorable performance and is also drawing early awards buzz. Even Shia LaBeouf is good (!) in this heavy, challenging, and rewarding exploration of grief and loss. Pieces of a Woman is really Kirby’s show, however, and further proof that she’s one of the up-and-coming stars of her generation.
“It’s a heart-breaking gut-punch of a performance,” I wrote of Kirby while reviewing Pieces of a Woman back at TIFF. “Burtsyn and Parker are especially fine among the outstanding ensemble of supporting players, although everyone holds their own in the challenging and precisely choreographed set pieces. This daring film lets audience experience heartache firsthand. It’s a gruelling thrill of a movie.”
Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are a Boston couple on the verge of parenthood. Their lives change irrevocably when a home birth ends in unimaginable tragedy. Thus begins a yearlong odyssey for Martha, who must navigate her grief while working through fractious relationships with her husband and her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn), along with the publicly vilified midwife (Molly Parker), whom she must face in court. Directed by Kornél Mundruczó (White God, winner of the 2014 Prix Un Certain Regard Award), written by Kata Wéber, and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Pieces of a Woman is a deeply personal, searing, and ultimately transcendent story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss.