Thursday, January 7, 2021

Pieces of a Woman (R) - 2 Stars - NETFLIX - January 7, 2020

Pieces of a Woman begins as Vanessa Kirby portrays the agony of a home birth.  Set in modern day Boston, Kirby plays Martha, a rebel from a well to do family demanding a life lived her way.  That life includes a rough construction worker husband played by Shia LeBeouf, and her desire to avoid a hospital birth.  A substitute midwife (the one they worked with is birthing another child) arrives.  Things progress until a few moments after delivery when the child dies.  For the rest of the film, the couple deals with loss and grief and a domineering parent played by Ellen Burstyn.  Kirby, known especially for her work in the early seasons of The Crown, dominates with an award worthy performance.  Her moods, her attitudes, her presence demand our attention.  Shia LeBeouf, performing behind a full Grizzly Adams beard, makes her husband so much of a jerk that it's hard to accept them as a couple.  Ellen Burstyn has some dramatic somewhat actorly moments.  The best moments in Pieces of a Woman can't overcome a difficult watch that ends on an unbelievable note.