Trigger warning: Please be aware that the film Pieces Of A Woman starring Vanessa Kirby contains scenes that you may find upsetting or triggering.
Vanessa Kirby gives a powerful portrayal of a bereaved mother in Netflix's Pieces Of A Woman. Sands is here to provide support for individuals affected by the issues portrayed in the film.
Vanessa Kirby very kindly gave her time to take part in an online Q&A about the issues raised by the film around baby death and bereavement with Kelly Daniel, a beneficiary of Sands’ services.
The event took place in January 2021 and was hosted by Sands Ambassador Genelle Aldred, a broadcaster and journalist who has helped to break the silence around baby loss for many years, following the death of her daughter Sade-Rose.
The Sands free Helpline is open from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 6pm to 9pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The Freephone Helpline number is: 0808 164 3332. You can also email the Helpline if you would prefer at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our online community.
In these challenging times when bereaved families need support more than ever, we are doing all we can to ensure Sands is here to respond to anyone who needs us.
If you would like to make a difference for bereaved families today, and help save lives in the future, find out how you can support our vital work.
About the film
Martha and Sean are a couple, from Boston in the US, on the verge of parenthood whose lives change irrevocably when a home birth ends in unimaginable tragedy. Thus begins a year long odyssey for Martha (Vanessa Kirby), who must navigate her grief while working through fractious relationships with her husband and her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn), along with the publicly vilified midwife (Molly Parker), whom she must face in court.
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó (White God, winner of the 2014 Prix Un Certain Regard Award), written by Kata Wéber, and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Pieces Of A Woman is a deeply personal, searing, and ultimately transcendent story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss. In preparation for her screenplay, Wéber, who has one child with Mundruczó, began reading testimonies from women who had suffered miscarriages and whose babies had died.
Vanessa Kirby did her own research by spending time with women who had lived through the same kind of tragic loss that Martha suffers in the film.
It was a story that I hadn’t ever seen before on screen. It was something that people don’t often speak about, so I felt so strongly that it needed to be told.
I realized how little support there is. I hope the film might instigate conversation and support where there hasn’t really been much at all.
There’s this profound grief at the centre of this movie. If we can capture that on screen accurately, I hope for people who are either in that space now, or have been, that it will touch them in a way that will make them feel slightly less alone.
- Vanessa Kirby
Support in relation to the portrayal of the father Sean
The portrayal of Sean and his response to their loss is a powerful and realistic representation of how loss can affect some bereaved men and his behaviour in the film is within the context of complicated grief.
People’s responses to grief are very personal and although Sean’s reactions are at the more extreme end of the spectrum it is true that some bereaved parents may turn to alcohol or drugs, or show anger.
It is vital that anyone affected by the death of a baby receives good bereavement care at the time and is offered ongoing support in a way that is right for them for as long as they need it.
If either parent is experiencing physical, mental, or emotional abuse from their partner following the death of their baby this is completely unacceptable.
We urge anyone who watches Pieces Of A Woman and finds Sean’s responses triggering or recognises that they are experiencing a similar situation can seek help by contacting one of the sources of support listed below.
If someone is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. Silent calls will work if you are not safe to speak – use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted.
Domestic Violence and Abuse
- Rape Crisis
- Refuge - range of services, including refuges, independent advocacy, community outreach and culturally specific services
- Relate - provider of relationship support
- Women’s Aid - working to end domestic. For online support for domestic abuse go to https://chat.womensaid.org.uk/
England: Freephone 24h National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428 email@example.com
Men’s Advice Line (for male domestic abuse victims): 0808 801 0327 firstname.lastname@example.org
Karma Nirvana, UK Helpline for ‘honour’-based abuse and forced marriage: 0800 5999 247
Victim Support National 24 hour Supportline: 0808 1689 111
Respect phoneline for perpetrators: Freephone 0808 8024040 https://respectphoneline.org.uk
Relationship Counselling & Support
Support for people who are deaf or have hearing impairments
BSL Health Access is a new way to support communication in British Sign Language so that Deaf and hearing people can communicate more easily:
www.BSLHealthAccess.co.uk enables you to connect to a qualified BSL interpreter online so that you can place a phone call, or even use the interpreter to support in-person conversation.