“Pieces of a Woman”


Metacritic (7/10), Rotten Tomatoes (***+)

Losing a loved one is never easy, but it’s especially difficult when parents watch a newborn slip away in the first few minutes after birth, an event fraught with all manner of fallout, the subject of this sometimes-brilliant, sometimes-frustrating new domestic drama. While the film’s opening 27-minute single-shot birthing sequence is captivating, the picture fails to maintain the same intensity and depth thereafter, frequently meandering, wallowing in clichés and providing only shallow explorations into the psychological issues that should have been the focus for the picture’s balance. These failings are compensated for somewhat by the fine performances of Vanessa Kirby, Ellen Burstyn and Shia LaBeouf, as well as some intriguing underlying themes that struggle to surface through the otherwise-undisciplined narrative. In all, though, director Kornel Mundruczó’s finished product comes up short, leaving viewers wanting for something more substantive given the project’s profound subject matter.