'Pieces Of A Woman' Ending: Midwife Trial's Outcome, Explained

Pieces of a Woman Sean Shia LaBeouf Vanessa Kirby Martha Weiss Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

So, you have heard about “Pieces of a Woman,” the drama starring Vanessa Kirby, and are wondering about the Netflix movie’s ending. It is one of those conclusions you cannot surmise from watching a trailer. There is a legal battle amid tragedy and a young couple at the center of the storm. The stakes are high, and the emotions are equally staggering.

First off, it is probably necessary to understand the full context of the “Pieces of a Woman” ending. The movie covers a considerable period in its characters’ lives, and by the time it ends, it is tough to recall the actual facts surrounding the courtroom drama that closes the final act. In case you have not watched the movie (review here) and are curious about how it ends, here is some context.

Pieces of a Woman Martha Vanessa Kirby Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

What Is “Pieces of a Woman” About?

Spoilers for the ending of “Pieces of a Woman” get discussed below.

The story is set in Boston and opens on soon-to-be first-time parents Martha (Vanessa Kirby, “The Crown”) and Sean (Shia LeBeouf). Following an intense home birth, the parents’ newfound joy is met with devastating tragedy as their newborn daughter dies from a never determined cause. From there, “Pieces of a Woman” explores Martha and Sean’s grief as their relationship fractures, and a looming court case (think “The Trial”) looms within striking distance.

The attending midwife, Eva (Molly Parker), gets charged with manslaughter for the baby’s death. During the ending, Eva’s fate gets decided in a courtroom battle with Martha’s cousin -- Suzanne (Sarah Snook) -- leading the prosecution. Is the midwife found guilty? Do Martha and Sean stay together? Here is what happens.

Piecse of a Woman Martha Weiss Vanessa Kirby Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

Do Martha and Sean Break-Up? 

There is no “break-up” scene, but after Martha’s mother offers Sean money to leave Martha and move to Seattle. He is next shown talking to Martha’s cousin, Suzanne. To whom, he laments they had not met sooner. At that point, the two have had an affair throughout the mid-section of “Pieces of a Woman.” For her part, Martha comes to suspect that Sean is cheating.

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In the end, Martha takes Sean to the airport. They share no words. Sean gathers his things and looks ready to say something as he opens the door to the truck’s cab. He instead tosses his hat inside without uttering a word. Martha looks on emotionless while Sean can get heard crying as he goes into the airport. He never gets shown again.

Pieces of a Woman Molly Parker Eva Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

Does Martha Testify Against The Midwife?

Yes. Martha testifies that Eva checked the baby’s heart-rate three or so times and that the first check was strong. She also confirms that Eva never checked the baby’s heart-rate in the bath. After saying this, Martha notices the midwife react anxiously. As Martha’s testimony continues, Martha shares that she was not aware a lower heart-rate would indicate the baby was in distress.

Martha says that if she had known that, she would have asked to go to a hospital. Martha also doubles down on her mindset, confirming that she would have gone if she had gotten told to go to the hospital. “Pieces of a Woman” then shifts gears to the defense, where the tension intensifies.

Pieces of a Woman Suzanne Sarah Snook Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

What Happens During Cross-Examination?

The defense tries to get Martha to admit that she had gotten advised to go to the hospital due to the baby possibly suffering from arrhythmia. Martha admits she was told she may have to go to the hospital but was unaware there was a possibility of the baby struggling. (A personal replay of the scene verifies that Martha never got notified there was an imminent threat to the baby.)

Related: ‘The Trial’ Ending On Netflix Explained: Was Linda Monaco Guilty?

At that, the defense shifts gears to how Sean told Martha that they had to go to the hospital. The lawyer says that Sean testified that the midwife told Martha she should go to the hospital. From there, the defense claims Martha refused medical advice, determined to move ahead with the home birth. Eventually, Martha gets shaken as the questions continue and asks for a recess.

Pieces of a Woman Vanessa Kirby Martha Weiss Sean Shia LaBeouf Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

What Is The Truth?

At this point in “Pieces of a Woman,” it is tough to know. Here is what really happened. The midwife did not check the baby’s heart rate in the bath. She monitored the baby four times total (from beginning to end). The second reading was not good, and upon the third reading being low, she advised them that the baby must be delivered quickly.

Martha did refuse to go to the hospital, but that was without understanding the context of going (the baby being distressed). The midwife only told Sean that the baby’s heart-rate was outside the normal realm. She said that they may need to transfer Martha to the hospital if the heart-rate did not come up again over the next few contractions. However, Eva downplayed the need for it.

Pieces of a Woman Eva Molly Parker Martha Weiss Vanessa Kirby Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

Did The Midwife Mess Up?

Sean explicitly asked if they were still good to continue at home, and the midwife uneasily replied, “Yeah. We’re good.” After another attempt to deliver the baby and checking their vitals, the midwife told Sean to call 911, and he did. Soon after, the baby is born, and the midwife has to work on her before she cries. All seems to be alright until it is not.

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The baby turns blue, the ambulance arrives, and the movie’s title (“Pieces of the Woman”) gets displayed on-screen. It does not end well. When the film picks back up, it is clear that the baby has not made it. This all raises the question. Could the midwife have done more?

Pieces of a Woman Iliza Shlesinger Anita Ellen Burstyn Elizabeth Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

Was The Midwife Actually Guilty?

It was a slow boil situation. Eva (the midwife) clearly meant no harm. That said, the delivery spiraled out of control. Eva could have gotten the paramedics on the scene quicker if she had acted quicker and more decisively. Throughout the high-intensity ordeal, “Pieces of the Woman” shows no malicious intent on the midwife’s part.

Is The Midwife Found Guilty?

No. In the end, Martha testifies that the midwife is innocent. Why? During the court’s recess, Martha finally has the photos of the baby following her birth developed. Upon seeing them, Martha breaks down in tears. It is the first time she fully lets go of her pent-up anguish and seems to process everything.

She returns to the courtroom and testifies that the midwife meant no ill will. Martha also implies that her daughter’s brief time on earth had another purpose, and the baby girl would not want someone to suffer. “Pieces of a Woman” indicates that her baby’s life was meant to heal the rift between Martha and her mother, and Martha’s daughter succeeds.

Pieces of a Woman Vanessa Kirby Martha Weiss Ellen Burstyn Elizabeth Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

The Ending Scene Of “Pieces of a Woman” Is Explained.

Martha and her mom’s relationship heals. They are shown having lunch together with Martha’s sister. In the film's final scene, a young girl is shown climbing an apple tree. Martha calls for the girl named “Lucianna/Lucy” to come down. The little girl climbs down and joins Martha. They join hands and head in for dinner together.

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It appears that Martha has moved out to the countryside and welcomed a second daughter. The child’s father is unknown. There is no reason to think that Sean is the father of Lucy. Martha’s relationship with Sean was utterly eviscerated, with no indications it could mend.

Pieces of a woman Vanessa Kirby Martha Weiss Netflix
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

The Importance Of The Ending Scene

Apples are the through-line of the movie. Martha smells one in the store when one of her mom’s friends try to “comfort” her. She is also shown trying to grow sprouts in the refrigerator throughout the movie. Martha reveals the apples’ significance during her testimony, saying that her newborn daughter smelled like them.

Martha’s second daughter getting an apple from a tree at the end of the movie brings the apple theme full circle. By the end of “Pieces of a Woman,” Martha has mended the shattered parts of hers and her mother’s relationship and had another child. All signs hint at her recovery and a happy future ensuing for Martha.

You can watch all of this unfold on Netflix. “Pieces of a Woman” is streaming there alongside a lot of incredible movies and TV series.