Tyro director and writer Maggie Gyllenhaal isn’t afraid to showcase maternal angst with its share of frantic, intemperate interludes.
The actress of films like Sherrybaby and Secretary besides The Dark Knight and Mona Lisa Smiles centers on a divorced professor vacationing on Greek isle Spetses in The Lost Daughter. It doesn’t seem like her first time behind the camera with an innovative way with the 2006 novel by Italian author Elena Ferrante that should resonate most with middle-age adults.
Like her aforementioned films, the director gets a full-bodied turn from her lead actress, Olivia Colman of
She’s drawn to younger mother Nina (Dakota Johnson of Our Friend) with straying daughter Elena at the shoreline and an indistinct feeling begins a route that can be discomfiting. Especially as the gazing 48-year-old who’ll be an unsteady narrator looks to shed a tear or two.
How Gyllenhaal the scenarist relates the notion of estrangement allows for Leda to comprehend what’s happened to her inlays that can be “unnatural” or “amazing.” As she has two daughters roughly in their mid-twenties, Martha and Bianca.
The narrative lets the past when Leda was a young mother co-exist with the present when a quiet idyll is disrupted by a Queens-based family who could be considered crass and maybe a little shady. It allows the characters to check the boxes not usually checked which informs how an acrid outsider came to be that can cast a pall over her.
A thoughtful complexity has an osmosis about it that lets Colman surprisingly engage with a penetrating, chilling range from a tightly wound position. Jessie Buckley (The Courier (2021) inhabits the younger Leda quite persuasively from how she reacted to all the attention from her daughters, notably Bianca to her meeting at a university conference for poetry translation Prof. Hardy (Peter Sarsgaard of Jackie, Kinsey, and off-screen spouse of Gyllenhaal).
The Lost Daughter reaches a buffering point after aggression inexplicably goes awry with impetuousness playing a part in the perspective the can trigger much rumination. Gyllenhaal effectively strikes against the norm through familial strife into probing psychological drama with no regrets or patience where is protagonist is headed.