The Lost Daughter (2021)

Maggie Gyllenhaal and her directorial feature debut arrived on Netflix this weekend, a film that had been released in selected theaters to make it eligible for the Academy Awards. There is a lot to like in this one.

Speaking specifically is Olivia Colman, who is one of the best actors we have working today. Every time she goes on the screen, there are wonderful results.

In this film, Colman played Leda, a middle aged English teacher who had two female children. Leda is on vacation in southern Italy where she spends time on the beach. While on the beach, she sees another family on vacation, a family that were made up of some unfriendly people.

When the family loses track of a little girl, Leda finds her and brings her back. However, Leda also sees a doll in the water that she takes. The little girl was constantly crying over the missing doll, but Leda still took it back to her hotel room.

During this time, we had flashbacks to the time in Leda’s life where her daughters were very young and she was struggling to try and advance her career. Leda (young Leda played by Jessie Buckley) was having trouble with her girls’ behavior and the constant attention they required. She went to NYC and ended up in an affair with another professor (Peter Sarsgaard).

The film is filled with uncertainty and mystery. I know that I was not sure where the film was leading us and, even after seeing it, I am not sure exactly what had happened. I believe there are hints throughout the film that it may be more tragic than what it seemed like. And not just the conclusion either.

Olivia Colman is awesome as ever. She helped create the potential interpretations with the manner in which she approached the character. You may have some different ideas of what happened in the end and I do like the possible results.

The Lost Daughter may be a little long, but it is a fascinating film with a debate over the conclusion.

3.75 stars

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