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The heartbreaking true story behind new Netflix film Pieces of a Woman

The film has landed on Netflix

pieces of a woman© Photo: Netflix
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
January 9, 2021
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We knew that Pieces of a Woman was going to be incredibly difficult to watch just based on the trailer alone, and now the film has arrived on Netflix viewers have been left wondering if it's based on a true story given its devastating portrayal of baby loss.

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The film, which stars The Crown actress Vanessa Kirby and Shia LeBeouf, tells the story of a young couple dealing with the aftermath of losing their baby during an at-home labour that goes wrong.

While their midwife Eva faces civil and criminal charges, the couple grow further and further apart as they grapple with the gut-wrenching grief of losing a child in different ways.

WATCH: Pieces of a Woman is now on Netflix

It's been positively received by critics and audiences alike, with many praising lead actress Vanessa Kirby's remarkable performance of a woman facing an unimaginable loss. And now, director Kornél Mundruczó's partner, Kata Wéber, who penned the screenplay, has revealed that the film is loosely based on her own experience of miscarriage. 

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"I lost a child during pregnancy," she told AnOther magazine. "I felt that my body had been taken away from me because there were all of these people around [expressing their opinions on the miscarriage]. My body wasn't mine. I had to regain it back through writing, which was like therapy for me."

Pieces of a Woman vanessa© Photo: Netflix

Have you watched Pieces of a Woman?

The filmmaking team also drew inspiration from a real-life case of a midwife who was charged with manslaughter in their home country of Hungary after a baby died during a home birth. The midwife was given a two-year prison sentence but was later pardoned. 

"We met this midwife a couple of times, and she was very inspiring," Mundruczó revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. "One sentence she told us is in the movie: 'the newborn has to decide when she wants to be born.'"

Pieces of a Woman mdwife© Photo: Netflix

In the film midwife Eva faces criminal charges over the death of the baby

The official synopsis for the Netflix film reads: "Martha and Sean are a Boston couple on the verge of parenthood whose lives change irrevocably when a home birth ends in unimaginable tragedy.

"Thus begins a yearlong odyssey for Martha, who must navigate her grief while working through fractious relationships with her husband and her domineering mother along with the publicly vilified midwife, whom she must face in court."

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