Pieces of a Woman
Pieces of a Woman (2020)

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2020/12/30 127 min.


A heartbreaking home pregnancy leaves a single mother struggling with the deep emotional aftermath, separated from her family and lover by a gaping chasm of loss. She longs to regain her life, to go back to the place where she belonged, but cannot because of the grave danger that she faces. The only thing that can help her get over her fears is joining an online dating service. There, in the safety of her own home and away from the prying eyes of people she does not know, she can meet men and women whom she has never met and get to know about their individual interests, desires, hopes and goals. Dating online, a website specializing in finding a date, can be a lifesaver for women like this, who need a little boost in their confidence to help them get over their pregnancy and marriage difficulties.

" Pieces of a Woman, which was directed by Lisaidation ("The Night Before Christmas") and written by Craig Ballantyne, is an affecting tale of love, betrayal, revenge and despair, told in two different yet connected scenes. In the first, played out on the bedroom floor, a distraught Penelope (Daryl Hannah) prepares to have a private moment with her deadbeat husband, Christian (Kevin Pollack), while her son Ben (Cole Searches) watches and anxiously joins her. Though he tries to console her, she is unable to move as she attempts to recreate the scene from the birth of their child. This scene recurs in various forms throughout the rest of the film, finally leading Penelope to a hotel room where she's overcome with guilt for having strayed from Christian and who, at that point, has been out of touch with her for some time.

This second scene recurs in the midst of dinner, as Christian is preparing to feed Penelope, who is too nervous and emotional to appreciate his efforts. He apologizes for his behavior, explaining that his actions came against a sudden impulse. However, it takes more than this explanation to endear Penelope to Christian and to make her see the error of her ways. The movie then takes its course, divided into scenes that take place almost simultaneously: a chase through the woods; a sit-down dinner with Ben and Penelope; and finally, a final chase through the compound where Christian and Penelope come face-to-face.

The most telling aspect of Pieces of a Woman is the slow pace that characterizes much of the movie. Although there are some spectacular moments, such as when Christian drives the woman to the top of a mountain and crushes her skull with his metal mallet (the only collision we are allowed to witness), the majority of the film is characterized by slow-mo sequences of boring exposition. Then, as the story unravels, the pace picks up. Pieces of a Woman follows the lives of its central characters through the final few days of their marriage, slowly building momentum as each day goes by. As the couple comes closer to giving up on each other, the slow-mo and steady pacing gradually builds tension until the inevitable climactic wedding dinner finally arrives.

What distinguishes Pieces of a Woman from other films about a newlywed couple is the way in which the movie explores the aftermath of such an event. Although Ben and Penelope are committed to going through with their marriage, the death of their unborn child leaves them at an impasse. Although the pregnancy was unplanned, the death makes them realize that their happiness is not unconditional. Pieces of a Woman captures the agony of two people who have become fused (in their eyes) and unable to separate. The slow-mo and the subtle hints of guilt that permeate the movie, as well as the audience's sense that they're witnessing true love being destroyed only make the experience all the more harrowing.

One of the most moving moments in Pieces of a Woman is its extended birth scene, in which the late Ben stands on the edge of the cliff in a literal push-over position, waiting for Penelope to burst open to find him. Although his intentions are noble, the effect is devastating for both of them. In a film that chronicles their marriage decay, Ben and Penelope have to decide just how much pain they can endure before giving up. As the credits run the screen, the viewer is left in no doubt as to what the true meaning of this pivotal moment was: if Ben and Penelope had chosen to remain in their marriage, their love would have been complete.

Original title Pieces of a Woman
TMDb Rating 7.2 703 votes
Average: 7.2 / 10 (703 votes)
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