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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

The Lost Daughter - Review (London Film Festival 2021)

Children Are a Crushing Responsibility. 4 / 5

Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

A woman’s seaside vacation takes a dark turn when her obsession with a young mother forces her to confront secrets from her past.

Maggie Gyllenhaal makes her remarkable directorial debut in The Lost Daughter.

Olivia Colman effortlessly waltzes her way to a Best Actress nomination as Leda who's holiday slowly unravels after she becomes infatuated with a local family and secrets from her past creep to the surface.

Gyllenhaal's directorial style jumps between the intimate and the disorientating with handheld super close ups capturing the character's micro-emotions and focus points but is not always as effective as it thinks it is, at times becoming borderline distracting.

But it certainly makes up for it with a captivating story that becomes darker as we explore unanswered secrets from Leda's past. As the two interweaving stories both come to a devastating crescendo, the performances shine as Colman and Jessie Buckley create a complete character full of remorse and guilt.

The Lost Daughter was a much more complex character study than I was expecting that explores loneliness and the responsibilities of parenthood to distressingly striking effect.

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