Directed by Kornel Mundruczo, ‘Pieces of a Woman’ paints a poignant picture of a couple struggling with the death of their newborn daughter. Not only does it seek to highlight the emotional and societal restlessness that accompanies such a devastating event, but it also carves the independent journeys that the protagonists go on with much finesse. The powerful performances by Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf only add to the dramatic milieu. So, if you’re wondering what that ending is all about, then we have got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Pieces of a Woman Plot Synopsis
Martha and Sean are a normal, happy couple who is expecting a baby girl. The whole pregnancy has been fairly typical, but one fateful day changes everything. Barbara, the midwife they had chosen for the delivery, is stuck somewhere and is unable to show up. Her replacement, Eva, steps in and guides the couple. However, the baby’s heart-rate drops, and even after she is born, she has trouble breathing. Consequently, wee little Yvette dies. The rest of the movie explores how the couple deals with their grief while Eva is embroiled in a court case.
Pieces of a Woman Ending: Why Does Martha Sway Her Testimony?
Towards the end, Martha addresses the court and states that Eva did not intentionally harm her child. The grieving mother even affirms that Yvette’s death was not Eva’s fault. It is evident that she has forgiven the midwife and has finally started healing, bit by bit. Before this, however, the mother has conflicted feelings on the stand, and there is a part of her that wants to put the blame entirely on Eva. There is also the fact that Martha was adamant about not going to the hospital on the day of the delivery, despite Eva’s suggestions.
It is actually the visit to the picture studio that puts things in perspective for Martha. After all, when the photo of her holding her baby is developed, Martha realizes that Yvette only brought them joy and comfort, even if she was alive only for a few moments. That one photo where Martha holds Yvette is what kickstarts the mother’s healing; it symbolizes that, even if it was for just a minute, Martha had everything she wanted in the world.
It is clear that the mother doesn’t want to spread malice and hurt other people, and she even states this in her speech at the court. There is no denying that one of the toughest experiences on Earth is losing a child, but the fact of the matter is that time heals most wounds. Initially, Martha is struggling to cope with Yvette’s death, but by the time she goes to Eva’s hearing, she has a new perspective on the entire situation.
Martha even states that she doesn’t want money or any kind of compensation from the defendant because this implies that the mother can’t, in fact, be compensated. She reiterates that the pain is unbearable but that Eva is not the reason behind her misery. Furthermore, there’s the fact that in the aftermath of Yvette’s death, Martha’s relationship with Sean goes south, and they both actively push each other away. Even if the child’s death could be blamed on Eva, Martha’s reaction to the entire ordeal is something she will have to take accountability for nonetheless.
Who are Lucy’s Parents?
In one of the final scenes of the film, Martha checks on the apple seeds in her apartment and sees them sprouting. Not only is this symbolic of her fresh start, but it also foreshadows the climax well. For one, Martha has started rebuilding her relationship with her mother and her sister, and the next month, she goes to the bridge that Sean was working on and disperses their daughter’s ashes there. Then, we are finally introduced to Lucy. She walks through a lush garden and then climbs a tree before eating an apple. Martha then comes out and calls her for dinner.
Although the film does not explicitly state that Lucy (aka Lucianna) is Martha’s daughter, many clues attest that this is indeed the reality. For one, the fruit is a repeating motif, and it is a nod to the scene where Martha states that Yvette smelled like apples. It’s almost as if the sundry apple trees are representative of Yvette looking after Lucy from behind the grave. The former may not be there in person, but she is there in spirit. Plus, Martha can feel the essence of both her daughters there. This is why she has grown and nurtured the garden so beautifully.
Furthermore, Martha addresses Lucy as “baby” and “bug” with a certain ease that just doesn’t come naturally to extended relatives. Keeping this in mind, it is rather clear that Martha is Lucy’s mother. But what about Lucy’s father? Well, as far as we know, Sean is out of the picture. Given that Martha has started healing and has gained some form of closure in the last few scenes, we think that she is now with a completely different person. This man is someone who understands Martha’s predicament and is willing to give her the time and space to deal with it.
Since Lucy is a few years old, we know that considerable time has passed between the court hearing and the climax. This seems like ample time for Martha to start the process of coming to terms with her reality. We are given no clues about who the father is or if Martha is even dating a new person. Although the chances seem slim, it is possible that Sean could have come back to town, and they could have rendezvoused for one night. It could also be the case that Martha has adopted Lucy and is raising her as a single mother.
However, it is more likely possible that Martha has moved on with someone completely new. It’s not that she can’t raise a child on her own. It just seems as though she has a lot on her plate, and a companion could really ease her burden. Firstly, losing a child is never easy, and a parent never fully comes to terms with that. Then, there’s the fact that Martha’s mother’s age is catching up with her in the form of dementia. Juggling all this at the same time is no easy feat, and hence, we think that Lucy’s father is Martha’s new beau.
What Happens to Sean?
In the wake of Yvette’s death, Sean has a hard time coping with everything and turns to substance abuse once again. The man had been sober for more than six years and was quite attached to his unborn daughter. He had even “promised her” that he would complete the construction of the bridge in time. However, after that day, Martha shuts herself down, and Sean is basically left all alone. Since his wife is having such a hard time dealing with her own emotional trauma, she cannot be there for Sean and effectively pushes him away.
By the end, Martha’s mother offers him a cheque and tells him to leave town and never enter her daughter’s life again. At the same gathering, Sean converses with Suzanne, and they talk about Seattle. He also makes it clear that he is over his relationship with Martha when he tells Suzanne that he wished they had met earlier. The last time we see Sean, he is dropped off at the airport by Martha, and he leaves his beanie behind.
So in all likelihood, Sean is now residing in Seattle and is on his own journey of healing from all the trauma. However, since he isn’t sober, we expect that he would have had a tough time recuperating and starting afresh. While Sean may always cherish what he had with Martha, it is clear that there is no love between the two anymore. As such, we anticipate that he would have moved on with a different person by now, leaving this part of his life behind in Boston.
Read More: Is Pieces of a Woman a True Story?