Pieces of Her is a crime-thriller series based on a book of the same name, featuring a mother with some dark secrets and a hidden knack for survival
Pieces of Her released on Netflix only recently and has quickly climbed to the Top 10 list. Directed by Minkie Spiro, starring Toni Colette and Bella Heathcote, the crime-thriller series is based on a book of the same name by bestselling author Karin Slaughter.
It is harder than ever for a series or a movie to really grab the viewers’ attention. With an overly saturated market that churns out content like water, modern-day viewers have become increasingly desensitised. In a sea of crime shows and thrillers that continue to become more brutal with every release, it may seem as if a gratuitous amount of blood and a well-timed jump scare is all you need to break viewers out of an apathetic trance. Pieces of Her features both of these in the first ten minutes alone.
Laura Oliver (played by Toni Collette) is a soft-spoken mother celebrating her apparently depressed daughter Andy’s (played by Bella Heathcote) 31st birthday. A shooter opens fire at the diner and Laura goes from 0 to a 100 in mere seconds, slicing the man’s throat before he can do more damage. The speed, accuracy and lack of forethought on Laura’s part hints at something far more capable lurking beneath the surface of her quiet demeanour.
Her act of heroism garners a lot of publicity, making Laura’s situation precarious as she finds her face plastered on every news channel. Her comfort level with weaponry and combat improvisation indicate a past life that may not have been within the confines of the law, as she has been on the run from an unknown adversary.
Despite stellar performances, the ping-ponging between the past and the present becomes overused and loses its visual impact as the series progresses. As the story is fleshed out, the later episodes begin to drag; the final episode is an hour long. The filler moments water down the story.
A short while after the diner fiasco, Andy comes home to find her mother restrained by a group of men. It is only a matter of time before Laura disposes of them and gives Andy a bag full of cash, burner phones and some very specific instructions to keep running until she hears from her.
Despite being a bit of an under-achiever, Andy possesses investigative prowess and uses it to uncover her mother’s past in order to make sense of the chaos suddenly thrust upon her. This is done through a series of flashbacks intertwined with present day events.
Toni Collette as Laura steals the limelight in her segments and appears to be the main attraction in the series, which speaks of her acting prowess as an Oscar nominee. However, despite stellar performances, the ping-ponging between the past and the present becomes overused and loses its visual impact as the series progresses. As the story is fleshed out, the later episodes begin to drag; the final episode is an hour long. The filler moments water down the story. The only salvageable moments are the well-placed plot twists that reveal shocking information. The twists are the only thing that break you out of what can be considered easy watching for over-50s.
Pieces of Her has its entertaining moments. However the bloated pacing may be too much for some viewers, and once the series ends it has very little recall value. Watch at your own peril.
The author has a background in art and history.