Oscar spotlight: Vanessa Kirby and Ellen Burstyn are heartbreakingly good in ‘Pieces of a Woman’

Oscar spotlight: Vanessa Kirby and Ellen Burstyn are heartbreakingly good in ‘Pieces of a Woman’
It’s hard to imagine that any woman in the academy who has been pregnant won’t nominate Vanessa Kirby for her affecting, unsentimental performance as an expectant Boston mother who survives her worst nightmare in the Netflix release “Pieces of a Woman.”

Kirby, whom American audiences will remember for her saucy turn as the flamboyantly frustrated Princess Margaret in seasons one and two of “The Crown,” plays Martha Weiss. Expecting her first child — the phrase “It’s a girl” is written on the celebratory cake served at an office party before she takes maternity leave — Martha and her partner Sean (Shia Laboeuf) opt for a home birth but nothing will work out as planned. The midwife she thought would deliver her baby is suddenly unavailable. Martha’s already in a fraught labor when a substitute midwife, Eva Woodward (Molly Parker), is dispatched. There’s still reason to hope for
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