'Pieces of a Woman' Spoilers: Vanessa Kirby's grief-stricken film is Jennifer Aniston's 'Cake' minus the dry humor

For those familiar with 'Cake', the journey of experiencing the excruciating pain, grief and trauma of child loss in 'Pieces of a Woman' should be easy-peasy


                            'Pieces of a Woman' Spoilers: Vanessa Kirby's grief-stricken film is Jennifer Aniston's 'Cake' minus the dry humor
Vanessa Kirby as Martha in 'Pieces of a Woman', Jennifer Aniston as Claire in 'Cake' (Netflix/IMDb)

'The Crown' star Vanessa Kirby is all set to take the American audience by storm with her upcoming film on child loss and grieving. Starring opposite Shia LaBeouf and directed by Kornél Mundruczó with a script from Kata Wéber and Martin Scorcese as a producer, 'Pieces of a Woman' has been abuzz with rave reviews since its initial premiere at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

A look at the trailer will tell you exactly how prepared you should be for the gut-wrenching pain that the Netflix film unloads. And for those who have borne witness to Jennifer Aniston's film 'Cake', the journey should be easy peasy.

Although a box office bomb, the reason 'Cake' might resonate with so many others is the way Aniston's Claire processes grief in the film. After the loss of her child in a car accident that she survived, Claire is left struggling with chronic pain and abusing her medications.

To cope with the guilt over her son dying, Claire finds sufficient distraction in obsessing over the suicide of a fellow Chronic pain support group member Nina (Anna Kendrick). Claire contemplates her own life, distancing herself from her husband (Chris Messina) and also trying to cut ties with her housekeeper Silvana, who does everything for her and even drives her around.

Jennifer Aniston and Chris Messina in 'Cake' (IMDb)

In excruciating pain, both physically and emotionally, Claire still finds comfort in dark, dry humor that others might deem inappropriate. And even though she never shows it, she's not quite the a**hole one might assume her to be at a first glance. Claire lost a piece of herself the day her son died, and nothing seems to fill the gaping hole, albeit for a strong lack of trying.

Things are not so different with Martha either in the Netflix film and, much like Claire, her journey is addled with denial at first and then a rage so strong that she chooses to burn everything up in flames the way Claire tried with attempting suicide.

The trailer for 'Pieces of a Woman' sees Kirby's Martha losing her child in what everyone around her claims was out of the midwife's incompetence. With her mother persisting she fight the lawsuit against the midwife and her husband Sean (LaBeouf) equally tormented and scarred to actually offer Martha the help she needs, the woman recedes into a shell where she tries to erase all existence of the daughter she couldn't save after giving birth.

Sean's inability to help Martha is not for a lack of trying. His wife is too adamant about clinging on to the family they couldn't grow old with.

Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby in 'Pieces of a Woman' (Netflix)

Martha's denial spills into a spiral so filled with suppressed rage, just like Claire's was, that she tries to drown her trauma in reclaiming her life as a woman without properly healing from the failed dreams of embracing motherhood. Similarly, Claire too tried to vicariously live through the family Nina laves behind and found herself tormented by hallucinations of the other woman in her dreams, where she accuses her of using people for her progress.

The fine line separating the two stories are in the tones of their dramatic execution, where Martha's journey is filled with radical highs and lows and Claire's is a more subtle, yet intense plateau of stagnant pain. But if you're a fan of emotionally haunting dramas, both are must-watch movies.

'Pieces of a Woman' premieres on Thursday, January 7, on Netflix.

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