Pieces of Her

Long Memories

By Sarah Faichney | May 2022

‘Pieces of Her’ is adapted from the Karin Slaughter novel of the same name, with the eight-part series created by Charlotte Stoudt. Currently available to stream via Netflix, the thriller series is rated 15 and the blurb reads “A woman pieces together her mother’s dark past after a violent attack in their small town brings hidden threats and deadly secrets to light.”

The tension in the opening episode reaches fever pitch within the first ten minutes. In that time, we meet Laura, a 52-year-old speech therapist who helps rehabilitate army veterans. Laura is one sassy momma to 30-year-old Andrea (Andy). Toni Colette plays Laura and, boy, has she come a long way since ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ (still a classic movie)! Her performance is commanding throughout. This is a woman very much in control of her life. Or so it would appear…

Daughter Andy is played brilliantly by Bella Heathcote. She’s a rudderless young woman, her ambition somewhat scuppered by having had to return home to the fictional town of Belle Isle to nurse her mother through a period of ill health. Laura has spent many years virtually smothering Andy in an attempt to keep her safe, whilst living a life she doesn’t recognise as her own. In fact, it takes Laura many years to learn that “hiding isn’t choice, it’s captivity”. Laura is stoic and detached (clearly a method of self-preservation) but her love for her daughter is apparent from the opening scenes. As for Andy, it’s heartening to see her growing in confidence and resourcefulness as the story unfolds.

In the early episodes, we don’t fully know what’s going on. Flashback is used to illustrate some incidents from Laura’s past. All we know is that some people are pursuing Laura and Andy, and they’re not the sort of people you want to mess with. The first episode is fast-paced and thrilling.By episode four, Andy has realised that she doesn’t know her mom AT ALL!

Enter some characters from Laura’s past. Joe Dempsie (previously of ‘Skins’ and ‘Game of Thrones’) provides a wonderfully menacing performance as master manipulator Nick. To say more would be to risk spoilers but his eyes are hypnotically psychotic. Very chilling!

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