Directed by Kornél Mundruczó, ‘Pieces of a Woman’ is a 2020 drama film about loss and its manifestations in a person’s life. Martha Weiss (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean Carson (Shia LaBeouf) accidentally lose their unborn child under the watch of a midwife, Eva, who then faces severe consequences. Eva is legally charged with negligence as she is brought in court face-to-face with a distraught Martha pulled into a never-ending spiral of grief.
Martha slowly disassociates from reality that persistently pounds its fists at her in the form of a strained relationship with the husband, a forced dynamic with an overbearing mother, and the unborn baby’s death pushed into the matters of legal authorities. The emotions depicted in the story essentially find their outlet through misty winter tones delicately caressing its characters.
The intensity of the characters can’t be ignored or overlooked. The actors are specifically credited for their natural portrayal of sadness in its depths, which is why the movie appears to be memorable. If you liked this poignant drama set amidst frosty Canadian winters, we have curated a list including similar films that you’d enjoy. You can watch most of these movies like ‘Pieces of a Woman’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
6. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, ‘Manchester by the Sea‘ is an independent drama film about Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) who tries to get on with his life after a traumatic incident completely reshapes him as a person. But responsibilities soon come shattering upon him after his brother’s (Kyle Chandler) death as he becomes the sole guardian of his teenage nephew Patrick’s (Lucas Hedges).
After returning to Manchester-by-the-Sea (where he grows up), Lee confronts his emotions, which slowly break away from the composed façade he puts up throughout. This movie bears similarities with ‘Pieces of a Woman’ because of its inherent tropes of loss and trauma. Both films have protagonists who are crumbling under the burden of grief.
5. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Directed by Clint Eastwood, ‘Million Dollar Baby’ narrates the story of an aspiring boxer (Hilary Swank) as she seeks expertise under mentor Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), who lifts her career as it simultaneously opens up the gates to a series of traumatic experiences. Her spirits subsequently succumb to a traumatizing injury that leaves her with a permanent disability.
Her family also disowns her, and her last resort in dealing with life becomes ending it as she begs Frank to euthanize her suffering soul. The movie speaks about loss in a way that is contagious, leaving audiences heartbroken by the end of it. A similar theme is prevalent in ‘Pieces of a Woman’, where the intensity, although not as pronounced, is impactful.
4. A Ghost Story (2017)
Directed by David Lowery, ‘A Ghost Story’ is a peculiar film that follows the story of a deceased man (Casey Affleck) whose spirit defies death. Taking up a spectral form, he goes back to his house in an attempt to console his wife (Rooney Mara). Wrapped in his selfless pursuit, he is locked in a stagnating dimension where he passively witnesses everything that flits past. The plot is entirely an extension of the idea of loss, which is what ‘Pieces of a Woman’ is about. It is relayed through its quirky and paranormal yet heartwarming angle, especially the scenes where he silently watches her through a lens of eternally changing time and space.
3. Joker (2019)
A Todd Phillips directorial, ‘Joker‘ is the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) and his road towards becoming the Joker. He suffers from a medical disorder that results in him laughing involuntarily at inappropriate times, which becomes the source of his miseries. Arthur is continuously berated by everyone, which finally pushes him to the edge as his resentment gloriously morphs into an obsession with violence and destruction. The movie highlights the loss of identity more than anything due to Arthur having lost the purpose of life. It is similar to ‘Pieces of a Woman’ in terms of grief, characteristic of having lost something or someone.
2. The Descendants (2011)
Directed by Alexander Payne, ‘The Descendants’ focuses on a Hawaii-based islander Matt King (George Clooney), who has to keep his family together after his wife, Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie), slides into a coma. Matt’s relatives also pressure him regarding a shared land matter, and his emotionally hurt children’s (Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller) deteriorating condition presses him further into an abyss of constant worrying.
In a way, the movie also depicts the loss of innocence as the children are exposed to the death of their mother at tender ages. Although comical in some instances, it is centrally focused on the family struggling to thrive as a unit after they’re hit by a traumatizing aftertaste of reality. ‘Pieces of a Woman’ embodies the same idea resting against a more serious and subdued backdrop.
1. Atonement (2007)
‘Atonement’ follows the lives of young lovers Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) and Robbie Turner (James McAvoy). They are torn apart when a trivial lie is told by Cecilia’s jealous younger sister, Briony (Saoirse Ronan), out of jealousy and spite, which turns into an overture of irreversible misfortune. Robbie is put in prison as a consequence, and he is separated from his beau.
The heavy grip of loss squeezes the life out of the protagonists as they lead a life of despair henceforth. Their misery is precisely demonstrated when the three of them cross paths during the Second World War, where they discuss what they have individually lost. ‘Pieces of a Woman’ exhibits the same anguish and gloom fused into a fervent execution of emotions.
Read More: Where Was Pieces of a Woman Filmed?