the lost daughter
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Alone on a seaside vacation, Leda becomes consumed with a young mother and daughter as she watches them on the beach. Unnerved by their compelling relationship, (and their raucous and menacing extended family), Leda is overwhelmed by her own memories of the terror, confusion and intensity of early motherhood. An impulsive act shocks Leda into the strange and ominous world of her own mind, where she is forced to face the unconventional choices she made as a young mother and their consequences.
Olivia Coleman is the queen of the acting world. No question. And here in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s debut feature The Lost Daughter she’s shows us all why.
Historically, award buzz follows roles that require the performer to change physically, stay method for six months no matter what or is a performance in a production that is culturally edgy for its time. Coleman’s performance in The Lost Daughter is none of those. Quite the opposite.
The film negates long winded exposition and trusts instead in the virtuosity of Coleman’s talent and ability to convey the lifetime of inner rage, turmoil and regret. She also flips from loveable to extremely unlikable but because of the strength of Coleman’s performance we are with the Leda’s character and want to see it all to the end.
Even at two hours long, The Lost Daughter may be lost on someone without an appreciation for the art of acting or the patience to see the film through. And while one could argue that thematically issues are dealt with in an unbalanced way, it aptly reflects the complex conflict and character that is Leda.