Lost Daughter (2021). Photo: Netflix

Lost Daughter (2021)

"I'm an unnatural mother" - Leda 

I once knew someone whose mother confided to me how much she regretted giving up her career to raise her children. She explained that she had a promising fashion career and put it all on hold to stay at home and help the family business part-time. Now that the kids were on their own, it was too late for her to go back and re-travel that lost road. The Lost Daughter is about that road and the choices humans make as they journey through life.

The Lost Daughter's main character, Leda (played by Olivia Colman), vacations solo in Greece and expects a quiet, restful holiday. Instead, she becomes obsessed with another guest at the resort, Nina, a young mother struggling with the demands of parenthood. When Nina's daughter goes missing, she helps her find her. She befriends Nina, and yet, she steals her daughter's doll, causing chaos for everyone at the resort.

Leda is genuinely a complicated character. She reveals that she left her husband and two daughters for three years to pursue her career and carry on an affair. She confesses that being away from her daughters felt "amazing," yet it is clear that regret haunts her at this stage in life. Leda and Nina discuss the depression they both struggle with and how difficult being a parent can be. Again, this is heavy stuff.

The Lost Daughter is a dark film, yet the cinematography, acting, and the script keep the story moving nicely. Jessie Buckman is outstanding as the young Leda, and Olivia Colman moves into front runner status for Best Actress of the year. Ed Harris is well cast as the resort's nosy caretaker, and Dakota Johnson brings a surprising depth to the character of Nina.

The Lost Daughter is a bit heavy in tone, but this is a stellar choice for those seeking a powerful psychological drama. The film is a touching work of cinema and an impressive directorial debut by Maggie Gyllenhaal. The Lost Daughter is fascinating to watch and, like all great films, leaves one to think quite well after it is over. (B)

Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal
Starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley, Paul Mescal, Dagmara Domińczyk, Jack Farthing, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, with Peter Sarsgaard, and Ed Harris
Genre: Drama

Photo: Netflix

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