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Lost Daughter, The


Stars: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Harris, Jack Farthing

Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Professor Leda Caruso (Colman) - kudos to writer-director Gyllenhaal for coming up with the name - takes a holiday on a Greek island beach, her two adult daughters having left to be near their father in Canada. But this is no Shirley Valentine - though there's an elderly American (Harris), who provides vaguely amorous attachment - as the disturbed Leda, who refers to her daughters as 'the poor creatures who came out of my belly', finds the past pursuing and overwhelming her.

Trying to find some peace by the Mediterranean, Leda is irked by the nearby presence of a raucous American family, including Nina (Johnson). whose small daughter disappears, leaving the mother frantic. Leda finds the child, but also steals her beloved doll, for reasons that become apparent later in the film.

In a way, it's a puzzle picture without all of the pieces; we never do get to the nub of things. Colman tells us she's an unusual mother', but still issues remain blurred. Acting is solid if unspectacular, although Buckley is especially good as the younger Leda.

It's a film, I feel, that will appeal to critics, while mainstream moviegoers are more likely to respond with a 'So what?'

David Quinlan

USA/Greece 2021. UK Distributor: Netflix. Colour (unspecified).
121 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 14 Dec 2021