Toni Collette is unmatched in portraying a mother with horrific secrets (see: Hereditary). She stars as Laura Oliver in the Netflix drama Pieces Of Her, which premiered on March 4.
Oliver is a complex lady with a convoluted background that she conceals from her morose 30-year-old daughter, Andy (Bella Heathcote). Following a terrible encounter, Andy tries to piece together her mother’s heinous past.
It’s reasonable to say that the fundamental mother-daughter combination is exceedingly complicated. Laura and Andy spend most of the program on separate paths: Andy examines her family history and Laura’s upbringing, while her mother tackles a tragedy she buried almost three decades ago.
However, the performers develop a real, frayed connection between their characters in a few pivotal moments and conversations—two of which take place ominously in a restaurant.
In the first episode, a fierce verbal struggle between them is interrupted when a shooter opens fire during Andy’s birthday meal. Before all hell breaks free, Laura softly proposes to an unwilling Andy that it is time for her to begin her own life.
Heathcote tells The A.V. Club that their bond is so strong that only individuals in love can go at one other in that way.
“There is a closeness between them that allows them to critique one another, and there is a level of comfort in their discomfort.”
Without Heathcote and Collette delving into Laura and Andy’s emotional bond, Pieces Of Her would fall flat emotionally. The program is a family story with a subdued, predictable suspense undertone at its heart.
Laura is Jane Queller, an accomplished pianist and the daughter of a wealthy businessman named Martin (Terry O’Quinn). On the other hand, Martin put his child under enormous strain from an early age.
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It prompted her to revolt and ally with Nick Harp, the head of the Army Of The Changing World cult. She is also currently in the witness protection program after assisting the FBI in apprehending most cult members, save Nick.
Naturally, Andy is taken aback by this massive deception about her background. Additionally, it permanently alters her connection with her mother.
Collette tells The A.V. Club that they intended to emphasize the inescapability of intergenerational trauma with this story: “We are living a lie.” Regardless of how much Laura tries to shield her child, trauma is passed down.
It is ingrained in us; it oozes from us; we inherit it but are unaware of it until overcome. Humans are a mess, and this narrative is a direct result of that mess.”
Heathcote adds that one of her favorite revelations from Pieces Of Her is not a major narrative development but rather the final discussion Laura and Andy have when the dust settles between them in conclusion. “They are on an equal footing.
“At long last,” Heathcote says. “The curtain has been raised. This is their first opportunity to bond as adults. It’s agonizing—but agonizingly deserved.”