Even under the effects of traumatic loss, Martha (Vanessa Kirby) decides to return to work. On the way to her office, many of her colleagues look at her with surprise. She looks almost like a zombie. He just wants to get there and settle in again. Pretend to forget what happened to him or at least try. Martha, those around her and even the viewer conjecture him, but it won’t happen. Standing, stiff and confident in appearance, it is completely shattered.
Along with her husband Sean (Shia Labeouf) and a recommended delivery company, Martha preferred to have an intimate and traditional birth in the house. It was both their decision and they prepared for it. The hospital would be left for an emergency. Maybe the moments of delivery are long. However, in Fragments of a Woman (Kornél Mundruczó, 2020) they have to present the same way so that one is then convinced of the aftermath of the tragedy, that an early interrupted life motivates agony.
Fragments of a woman does not focus on a story about motherhood; not even about the frustration of not being a mother. Hungarian director Mundruczó (AFTA – Day After Day, Pleasant Days, Little Apocrypha No.1, Joan of Arc on the Nightbus…), who has counted on screenwriter Kata Wéber, recounts the sudden but slow collapse of a life project, where Sean and Martha take into account the possibility of making a family. The trial they will then face, especially her, is a consequence of the psychological conflict. He’s not the crun of the matter. At the trial, Martha’s great character will offer a humanity lesson above what her mother Elizabeth (Ellen Burstyn) and viewers expect. Mundruczó takes care not to incur common places. For her part, Vanessa Kirby, who has been showing an apparent sobriety on screen, shares at this decisive moment for her and the accused a suffering she wishes to stop without causing an injustice: “How can I give this pain to anyone else? (…) It’s not for this that my daughter came into the world, the time she was here.”
The director likes and takes advantage of the silences of a timely soundtrack. He knows where he wants the music and when it might be redundant. Toggles between American, mid- and close-up shots. In the latter he prefers to take side profiles of his protagonist because the pain he externalizes can be exhibited through several shots of the face. By montage and choice of images is referred to the feeling of the broken body, also the atmosphere of dejadez, when it does not collapse from the homemade harmony. The family malogre has an impact on the domestic interior and is evident when the camera runs through dead plants.
The characters will make defining decisions because rather than forgiving – will there be a need to forgive in this story? , but ordinary and throbbing, as it is named in a hard but sincere conversation with Martha’s mother. Shia Labeouf’s Sean can’t be better, maybe because we don’t know it’s about him until he appears in the credits.
Sean participates in the construction of a bridge that Martha will travel. The bewitching of it is a clear reference to the passage of time and the possible improvement in the face of what happened. Nothing makes up for the discomfort they both suffered. Everyone will survive as they understand it. Knowing that by being fair to the parter, she could really move on, Martha begins her recovery. The other thing: the apple trees in fruit with someone on top of one of them, at least for me, it’s enough.