Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are a Boston couple on the verge of parenthood whose 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 (Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn), along with the publicly vilified midwife (Molly Parker), whom she must face in court.
Kirby won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at this year’s Venice International Film Festival, where Netflix scooped up the film soon after. In recent years, Emma Stone and Olivia Colman (2016 and 2018, respectively) both won there as their first step on the way to winning the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film features a virtuoso 23-minute uncut shot of the birth sequence (shot by Benjamin Loeb) that took four takes over two days to complete. In a recent Q&A with the director and cast, Kirby revealed that it was the fourth take that was used.
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.
The film is based on Mundruczó and Wéber’s stage play, Pieces of a Woman, performed by the artistic ensemble of TR Warszawa in Poland and based on the the couple’s own personal experience. It is produced by Ashley Levinson, Aaron Ryder and Kevin Turen and co-stars Benny Safdie, Jimmie Fails and Sarah Snook.
Pieces of a Woman will be in select theatres beginning December 30 and on Netflix January 7, 2021. Here is the first trailer.