Netflix’s latest venture into the world of dramatic cinema brought subscribers the movie Pieces of a Woman. The drama follows an average couple, Sean and Martha (played by Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby, respectively) who are expecting their first child together. Their home birth goes wrong, however, after their scheduled midwife is too busy and sends a replacement.
Sean and Martha lose their baby moments after she is born, and the movie explores how they deal with the loss — both as a couple and individually. By the end of the movie, Martha seems to have healed, but she and Sean are no longer together. In the final moments, we get a glimpse of what Martha’s new life is like, which proves how far she has come. But some viewers were a little confused about that final scene.
So, what does the ending to 'Pieces of a Woman' mean?
Throughout the movie, the theme of apples is prevalent. From the decaying apple that signifies Martha and Sean’s rotting relationship to the fresh new apples at the end of the movie showing Martha’s new beginning, apples have a strong presence in the movie to show the cycle of Martha’s grief and how things evolve for her.
So, when Martha calls a young girl in for dinner at the end of the movie and the girl bites into a fresh apple, it’s all about new life and new growth. One of the final moments of the movie also shows Martha checking on the sprouting apples from the seeds she had planted in her apartment. It looks as though, over the course of a few years, she has managed to heal from the immense loss of her baby and start anew with another child.
The fate of Martha and Sean's relationship seems clear.
Although it's not clear who Martha ends up with at the end of the movie, it’s obvious that her life with Sean is behind her. During the movie, he leaves because his own grief is too much to bear and their relationship is beyond repair. Although Martha is able to work through her grief and start a new life by the end of the movie, it’s one that doesn't seem to include Sean.
Is 'Pieces of a Woman' a true story?
Although the exact plot in Pieces of a Woman isn't based wholly on one true story, there are aspects of Martha and Sean’s pain of their loss that writer Kata Wéber wrote with her own experiences in mind. In real life, Kata and her partner, Pieces of a Woman director Kornél Mundruczó suffered a loss of their own. And, as Kata told The Hollywood Reporter, the movie allowed her to explain the depth of their pain while also understanding the similar struggles of other women.
"It may sound crazy because there are so many connections in the film with our lives, with my life and my family story, but when I started to work with the script, it was not very obvious that it is going to be my emotional journey, or that it is going to be something so personal," Kata said. "Initially, I wanted to depict a conflict, and I wanted to discuss a taboo, but the personal part was a little bit hidden, hidden from me, too."
The legal battle depicted in the movie is also inspired by a real-life Hungarian case in which a home birth advocate was found guilty of negligence in multiple home births wherein newborn babies died. But, overall, the story within the movie is fictional, if inspired by very real struggles.
Pieces of a Woman is now streaming on Netflix.