Fall Festival Review: Pieces of a Woman

1 Oct

The film never tops its heart-wrenching first act, a dizzying yet controlled horror film that is as impressive a piece of filmmaking as it is a relentlessly harrowing sequence of events. The fact that it’s a long take isn’t the only impressive thing about it – it’s utterly immersive as a set piece, from the blocking to the performances to the ways in which the camera maneuvers within the space. You feel every emotion and ounce of terror as things slowly but surely careen off a cliff.

The rest of the film is frequently great, but it begins to get distracted by subplots and mistakenly centers its emotional catharsis around a courtroom drama toward the end. It seems like rather than deeply dissect the family dynamics in the wake of tragedy, the film has other priorities and larger topics it wants to address – to its detriment. Don’t get me wrong – I think overall it’s a profoundly moving and often powerful piece of drama, carried by a stunning performance from Kirby. But there is something that never really clicks into place before the credits roll, preventing it from attaining a level that was very much within reach.

GRADE: B+

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