Netflix released the trailer for Pieces of a Woman, starring Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf, on Tuesday. Directed by Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó, the film has been described as an emotional rollercoaster about motherhood and loss. It is scheduled for a global release on January 7, 2021, on Netflix.
Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, and Ellen Burstyn star in PIECES OF A WOMAN, from acclaimed filmmakers Kornél Mundruczó and Kata Wéber, and executive producer Martin Scorsese. pic.twitter.com/Cs1xkZv0nA
— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) November 17, 2020
Pieces of a Woman tells the story of a Boston couple Martha (Kirby) and Sean (LaBeouf) as they lose their newborn child. Martha’s journey as the year unfolds is a harrowing one, filled with grief, aimlessness, and bouts of anger. The trailer shows her mother (Ellen Burstyn) asking her to fight for justice and file a wrongful death case against the midwife. Scenes of a court battle in the trailer show us a glimpse of Sarah Snook taking the podium.
The film also stars Molly Parker, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, and Jimmie Fails. Written by Kata Wéber and produced by Martin Scorsese, it will be screened in select theaters on December 30, before it finally releases on Netflix in 2021.
Pieces of a Woman premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where Kirby won the Volpi Cup for best actress. Pieces of a Woman also marks the English-language debut for Mundruczó, who gained a huge following with his 2014 Hungarian film White God.
Kirby’s emotional portrayal of a grieving mother is likely to put her in the Oscar race, according to some industry trackers. A report in Vogue has called her portrayal of a realistic birthing scene, in particular, a game-changer. In a post-screening question and answer session, hosted by Netflix, Kirby said her role was inspired by real-life mothers who had faced a similar loss while giving birth.
“I managed to find some really brave women who really wanted to share their experiences… The more I spoke to them, the more I found how difficult society finds [it] to talk about it. A lot of the women I spoke to felt as if their bodies had failed in some way, or they had failed their child, so [they feel] the guilt that comes with that, as well as the self-blame,” Kirby said.
Talking about how the 23-minute-long one-shot birthing scene was put together, Kirby told Variety, “We did four takes the first day and two the second day. I think Kornel used the fourth one. It was like doing a play. Shia is also a real theater animal, so is Ellen, and we all understood what it would require. It was exciting setting up, preparing, and then launching into it freefall.”
Kirby was nominated for an Emmy in 2018 for her portrayal of Princess Margaret in the Netflix series The Crown.
Supporting actor Burstyn has also received critical acclaim, as websites such as Insider called her portrayal of a stern and cold-hearted woman in the film unmissable. Burstyn won an Oscar for her role in Scorsese’s 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and has six additional Oscar nominations.