Pieces of a woman According to my wife, it is the perfect film for people who love to watch films about dying babies. Which begs the question, why do people make such films that are extremely depressing and not at all pleasant to watch?
The answer: some people just want to see the world burn. And others want to show it burning in front of the camera.
As relentlessly oppressive as Pieces of a woman This searing drama by Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó is a showcase of excellence. Mundruczó and writer / contributor Kata Wéber might just want to see the world burn, but they made an incredibly strong film nonetheless, even if it falls apart in the end.
Both Vanessa Kirby (Mission: Impossible – Fallout) and Shia LaBeouf are superb. Breathtaking. Breathtaking. People with better vocabulary than me could come up with more distinctive adjectives, but there’s no denying that this pair makes two of the best performances of the year. What is most fascinating is how the actors proceed materially differently and yet bring their characters to life in equally devastating ways.
And “devastating” is a fitting word. As the father of a two year and a half healthy marriage Pieces of a woman is the type of film that I can’t avoid projecting onto my own family. Aside from the terrible tragedy, what would that do to my marriage? Me? It is difficult to fathom, even impossible, and yet it is very easy to understand how two people can fragment and get out of hand, as illustrated here.
Unfortunately, the other devastating aspect of the film is how Mundruczó and Wéber fail to bring the film home. While such stories are often more about the journey than the destination, the decision to end this incredibly nuanced and emotional film in a courtroom, and worse, with a great speech that probably wouldn’t take place in real life, wasn’t a good one. The scene is so unrealistic and, worse, so different from the rest of the movie that it really holds up Pieces of a woman The real shame is that the filmmakers could have gone down a very similar path while achieving so much more.
A lot of Pieces of a woman is great, a powerful exploration of sadness, anger and shock. With two of the best performances of the year, it’s a movie that deserves to be seen – if you can handle the hefty material – even if the pieces work better than the whole.
Rating by Erik Samdahl, unless otherwise stated.