‘Pieces of Her’ Review: Toni Collette Excels In This Tense Thriller

'Pieces of Her' Review

There’s nothing like watching a good thriller. If the story is gripping and the characters are interesting, then you know you are trapped until the end. The sense of mystery and tension that a good thriller manages to create can be outstanding. Many movies and TV shows try to recreate those feelings constantly, but very few TV series achieve it. Pieces of Her might be one of those that succeeded where others didn’t.

Pieces of Her is directed by Minkie Spiro, and stars Toni Collette, Bella Heathcore, David Wenham, Jacob Scipio, and Omari Hardwick. The series tells the story of Andy, a young woman who gets trapped in a mass shooting inside a restaurant. There, she witnesses her mother kill the shooter to defend her. The problem is, that the shooting is only the beginning, as she starts to discover that her mother, and her own life are not what they seemed to be. 

The TV series is based on the novel of the same name by Karin Slaughter, who has the perfect name to be one of the most prolific and successful crime writers of the last decade. Slaughter’s books have sold millions, and they have a huge fan base. The success of the books comes from the consistency of Slaughter’s writing and the ability she has to weave storylines in a way that makes the reader want to push forward and find out what happens no matter what.

'Pieces of Her' Review

So, the series already has an advantage by being based on source material that has proven to be successful. The momentum of the book, the tension, the twists, and the sense of urgency are all things that the TV show needs to translate from the page to the screen. Having seen the end result, we can say that Spiro and the rest of her team of filmmakers were successful in their endeavor. 

Pieces of Her has an amazing pace, unlike many other shows that feel like they are dragging the story and not getting to the point for some reason. This show wastes no time in getting the characters to the place they need to be for the story to take place. Once it starts, it will be difficult to put it down and not watch the whole season in just one sitting. This series is the definition of binge-watching. 

Of course, the show wouldn’t be so entertaining to watch without a good cast to anchor the characters in reality. Collette and Heathcore are our two leads, and they do an incredible job, as a pair of mother and daughter that could not be more different from each other. Where Laura, Collette’s character, is cold and calculated, Heathcore’s character, Andy, is all emotion and instinct. 

RELATED: 25 Best Murder Mystery Movies (Whodunit)

Collette has been killing it in basically every role she’s gotten for the past two decades. The actress has a quality that puts her in the everyday woman category, but when she begins to perform, that quality gives a sense of realism to her characters that isn’t present with many other actresses. It is not an easy thing to pull off.

Heathcore on the other hand, is quite talented, and it is great to see her have a leading role in a show like this. Here, more people can see her face upfront and not be hidden in the background as a supporting character. 

Because the show focuses on these two very different characters, the show has two very different feelings and tones depending on which characters are focusing on at a given time. It keeps things dynamic enough to always have people’s attention. 

Spiro is not reinventing the wheel here in terms of direction. Her work here is an amalgamation of everything that she has done in the past, having worked on countless TV shows and being very good at that. Here in Pieces of Her, it is clear that her time in Better Call Saul prepared her for the challenges at hand. Spiro directed all eight episodes, and the series is better for it. 

If this was a show of a weekly release, the ending of each episode would make for an incredible cliffhanger, but as it is, the endings keep the momentum going from start to finish. The only thing against the show is that in the ocean of content that is being released, it might get lost in the mix and even become forgettable after people have watched it. The series deserves better than that because, while it isn’t something revolutionary by any means, it is really some good old fashion TV series. We need that every once in a while.

SCORE: 8/10