A reluctant mother's beach vacation is disrupted when she
becomes obsessed with a younger mother dealing with similar issues.
The Lost Daughter (2021)
Written and Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal
Starring Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson,
Ed Harris, Peter Sarsgaard, Dagmara Dominczyk
Based on the novel by Elena Ferrante
Oscar Nominations - Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Best Supporting Actress (Jessie Buckley), Best Adapted Screenplay
The Lost Daughter is a film about how some women just aren't meant to be mothers. Having kids did not change their minds, it only strengthened their convictions. And there's nothing wrong with that. Not everyone is meant to have children, and we should stop shaming people who make that decision. Now, despite the movie's clear message and solid performances, it's remarkably dull, moving at a snail's pace nearly the whole time. It's very much a psychological drama that drifts in and out of a coherent narrative. So, not really my cup of tea.
Olivia Colman is Leda, a professor on a holiday in Greece who becomes obsessed with a young mother named Nina (Johnson). Nina doesn't seem to be enjoying motherhood. In fact, it seems to be making her depressed. Nina's reaction to her young daughter reminds Leda of her younger self (Buckley) and the selfish decision she made to abandon her daughters for three years. It's haunted her, though she doesn't regret it. Along the way, she flirts with Ed Harris, gets harassed by an obnoxious Greek family, and conjures an orange out of thin air. In the end, it doesn't feel like any lesson was learned or even suggested. Ultimately, some people just suck.
I think The Lost Daughter is a solid start for Maggie Gyllenhaal as a writer/director. It needs some work in the story department, but that could just be a "me" problem. Overall, Olivia Colman makes this film bearable, as she is a flawless performer possibly on her way to a second Oscar. I guess we'll see in a month.