Review of 'The Lost Daughter’ Netlix: Venice Film Festival 2020Maggie Gyllenhaal will direct Maggie Johnson's debut feature, which stars Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson. It will be available on Netflix December 20, 2021.
"Is this going be the end?" Towards the end of The Lost Daughter, Dakota Johnson asks Nina from Dakota Johnson. She probes Olivia Colman's character Leda.
It was at this moment that Maggie Gyllenhaal realized, for the first time as a writer and director she had identified what Betty Friedan, feminist theorist, once called "the problem without naming". It is the idea that there's a force at work in the female soul, but it lacks the language to express itself. The Lost Daughter Gyllenhaal reveals these uneasy feelings through her empathy and clever use of cinematic grammar. She adapts Elena Ferrante’s novel, The Lost Daughter to break one of the most enduring taboos in feministism: the Madonna myth.
Gyllenhaal’s views about womenhood are better expressed than anywhere else, and that is thanks to Olivia Colman's stunning performance as Leda. A British-American writer arrives in a small Italian town alone only to become hopelessly involved with another family's lives. Colman is able to balance the inscrutable role of Leda with a shrewd performance. She displays ambiguity while not falling into ambivalence. Colman's motivations seem completely unmoored to expectations about what an average person would do in her position. The film is filled with stunning tension because of the mystery surrounding how she will respond at any given moment in The Lost Daughter.
Leda has a unique way of living. She is illogical, but she doesn't act in an impulsive manner that would normally accompany a character's demeanor towards other people. Colman shows clearly that Colman does not act out of panic or fear. Colman's decisions can be confusing, but she has clearly studied them in her mind. Leda has an inner logic that is sufficient to make sense of the decisions and can move around the world operating from it. This is something she doesn't feel the need to share with anyone. She astonishes everyone with each step by refusing to conform to social conventions or niceties.
Gyllenhaal puts the movie's audience in a puzzled state for the first act. She is trying to find out the deal between Leda and Gyllenhaal. This central question is The Lost Daughter's driving force for quite some time, as Gyllenhaal refuses to simplify her character. It should be a good indicator as to how viewers will react to the movie overall. Will they feel drawn in by her spell or disillusioned?
However, this intrigue fades with the passage of time and is replaced by fascinating flashbacks that feature Jessie Buckley, a dead ringer to Colman's younger Leda. The Lost Daughter gives a little more insight into how Leda came to see her young daughters as more than a joyful miracle of life. It is not difficult to see the tortured psychological state of Leda as she struggles with the notion that having children can make it more difficult for her to achieve the personal, sexual and psychological satisfaction that comes without taking on the burdens of parenting.
These scenes are not meant to diagnose Leda. Gyllenhaal simply explains her and shows the lessons she learned from her experiences. It doesn't matter what kind of illness she has, society insists that mothers are less unique once they have a child. The Lost Daughter doesn't try to make Leda fit into an anti-hero or reductive "bad mom" mold. You can be strange or even repugnant and still have your character. Leda considers parenting to be a choker, and Gyllenhaal stubbornly refuses to ease the pain or frustration.
This unbending attitude towards norms can only cause friction and is evident in all new relationships Leda creates on the island. The way Colman exquisitely coils her character's repressed longing, beguilingly visualized by the fluid camerawork of Hélène Louvart and intricately woven by the latticework editing of Affonso Gonçalves, leads to anticipation as to where it will finally unleash. It could be Lyle, the property manager Lyle (Ed Harris), who appears to have an interest in Colman. Will, Normal people's Paul Mescal), who loves her and is a lifeguard on the coast. Irreverent youngster from town insists on ruining her quiet? Dakota Johnson portrays Nina (a young, brash mother who struggles with the confinements Leda knows all too well). This is like an anticipation whodunit, waiting for the ball drop. Gyllenhaal masterfully exploits each moment to provide both intrigue as well as insight.
The Lost Daughter is not a solution to the problem without a name. It addresses the women's inability to express any other emotion than joy over their children. This idea suggests that childbirth can create a person who has lost all ambitions. Gyllenhaal knows that it is possible to put a face on these unformed feelings that may be brewing inside. The first step to addressing the issue is simply to put a face on the feelings. It can sometimes be addressed if the problem can be discussed.
The Lost Daughter world premiered at the 2021 Venice Film Festival. It will be released by Netflix on December 31.
Marshall Shaffer, a New York-based freelance journalist for film journalism is Marshall Shaffer. His work can also be found on Decider as well as Slashfilm and Slant. Some day soon, everyone will realize how right he is about Spring Breakers.
Watch The Lost Daughter On Netflix, Starting 12/31/21