During a peaceful mother-and-daughter lunch, an unidentified armed man stands up from a near table—terrorizing the diners and triggering the mysterious unfolding of events in the thriller Pieces of Her.
The new drama series came out on Netflix on March 4. The show is an adaptation of Karin Slaughter’s novel and is composed of eight suspenseful, jaw-dropping episodes directed by Minkie Spiro. Despite its cliffhangers and mesmerizing acting, the plot is too unrealistic to enjoy.
Pieces of Her follows the protagonist Andy Oliver (Bella Heathcote) as she faces the realization that her mother, a seemingly grounded woman, is not the person she thought she knew. Andy’s perception of her mother changes as she struggles to piece together the identity of her puzzling mother, Laura (Toni Collette).
The story takes place in the town of Belle Isle, Ga. —a safe and quiet setting where you would expect nothing interesting to happen. Andy’s boring routine reflects the mundane rhythms of life in Belle Isle. She rides her bike to her job, works her shift with little interest in what she’s doing, and returns home with the same lifeless expression on her face.
She is unhappy with what she has accomplished as she is in her 30s, still living with her mother and working a job that demands almost nothing from aher but to sit and answer phone calls. At the same time, the protagonist does not make an effort to escape this dullness and gets irritated when her mother tries to help, making Andy an unlikeable character who needs to grow and develop.
Although initially it seems like the plot follows the boring life of ordinary people, the shocking events that unfold after a few minutes completely transform the dull beginning, although to an unrealistic point. Characters go through traumatic event after traumatic event, creating an overwhelmingly agitated pace in which viewers are constantly expecting the next bad thing to happen. The excessive use of violence and mystery makes the show unbelievable.
Even though each episode lasts about 45 minutes, the duration is more than enough to inundate the viewer with action. This show appeals to viewers who love suspense and are unafraid of blood and brutally explicit scenes. Its shocking, unpredictable scenes are followed by shallow and predictable dialogue. The underwhelming script makes the characters uninteresting when they are not facing dangerous dilemmas.
Andy’s mother is the enigma in the show. Laura, played by award-winning actress Collette, is an intriguing character with a secretive past that has come back to stir her peaceful present.
Collette does an outstanding job embodying a hardened character with a both admirable and terrifying determination to shield Andy from the secrets of her past.
But Collette’s acting is not enough to rescue the show from its poorly written screenplay. There are many scenes where characters say or do things that one would certainly not do in real life. It fails to represent real people and their actions.
Throughout the film, the protagonist is fully aware that she’s in danger but does the opposite of taking precautions. She reveals personal information to a stranger in a bar, forgets her phone instead of calling 911, and acts naive and oblivious to her surroundings despite warnings and threats.
Like the audience of a cheesy horror film, it feels like the viewer should constantly be screaming at the screen, “Don’t walk into the haunted house!” These instances are distracting from the plot of the story.
Even if violence in the show is meant to thrill the audience, the director should give more space for the audience to breathe and get to know the characters outside of violent situations. Who these characters are beyond dramatic and intense scenes is entirely unknown to the viewer.
Featured Image Courtesy of Netflix