Shards of Her is a Netflix drama about a sexual assault survivor who starts dissociating to cope with her terrifying reality. The series navigates the complexities of her struggle as she gradually regains her memory and has to confront her past.
Lin Chen-Hsi is a successful headhunter at her company where she falls victim to the misogynist work culture. She gets in a car accident and wakes up in her childhood home. She is shocked to see her father and brother alive. The doctor tells her parents that she is suffering from memory loss.
She forms a connection with a police officer who is investigating the murder of Mr. Hsieh, Chen-Hsi’s middle school teacher. While trying to help the officer, she starts regaining her memory and recalls her past with Mr. Hsieh.
Mr. Hsieh assaulted her in middle school which made her form a habit of dissociation as a defence mechanism. In her past and future, Chen-Hsi struggles to navigate her life in a male-dominated society.
Wei-Ning Hsu plays the role of Lin Chen-Hsi and captures the pain her character goes through. Her character is unable to open up about her emotions yet her performance conveys the struggle without any words.
The most impressive aspect of Toby Lee’s performance was his seamless transitions between the sophisticated character of Li Hao and the upfront Hsiao Liu.
Patty Pei-Yu Lee and Wen Chen-ling played the roles of Chen-Hsi’s best friends from high school. Both the characters along with Alyssa Chia’s Yen Sheng Hua depicted the different sides of a woman’s suffering. While their characters had different ways to cope with their trauma, their performances showed the equally disturbing realities they all had to suffer through.
The show uses a female-centric perspective to show the real-life suffering of a sexual assault survivor and does not shy away from delving into its complexities. The narrative follows the everyday struggle Lin Chen-Hsi goes through even after twenty years. The incident and her consequent inability to form connections ruin not only her life but her family’s as well.
The screenplay further intensifies the struggle of Lin Chen-Hsi through her dissociation episodes or as she gradually regains her memory. Her inability to confront her truth can be seen through the shots. It wraps up the complex themes and messages of Chen-Hsi’s narrative.
The series follows an excruciatingly slow pace to delve into its complex themes. The pacing makes it hard for the audience to follow the plot.
The subplot of Chen-Hsi’s best friend in Daton is not resolved properly. While the plot helped the general message of the series, the subplot did not connect to Chen-Hsi’s story and the reason it exists in her dissociation episode is not explained either.
The series highlights the struggles of a sexual assault survivor through its grim yet extremely realistic depiction. The plot and complex themes make it easy to overlook the technical flaws.
Shards of Her
Director: Li Cho
Date Created: 2022-10-28 12:30
Also Read: Shards of Her ending explained: Does Lin Chen-Hsi hallucinate her life as a headhunter?