LOST GIRLS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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It seems churlish to say such a thing about a clearly very necessary film, but Netflix’s Lost Girls isn’t terribly engaging. That’s a problem, because the way to bring in the audience that needs to see it most is to be as gripping as possible. A spoonful of sugar, and all that. I hate that I feel this way. I don’t want a movie about something as serious as this to be “entertaining.” But I do want folks to see it and stick with it long enough to actually hear what it has to say.

On paper, Lost Girls sounds electrifying. This first narrative feature from documentarian Liz Garbus — twice nominated for an Oscar, most recently for 2015’s What Happened, Miss Simone? — offers exactly the sort of twist on a familiar story I would expect from a filmmaker like Garbus, who has long been a champion for the girls and women our society misunderstands and overlooks. Movies about murdered prostitutes and serial killers who prey on women are so ubiquitous as to be banal, and — perhaps not even shockingly — these stories tend to be about the cops or lawyers investigating the crimes to which they have fallen victim, and not about the women themselves. Violence against women is a tired trope of cinema, but almost exclusively as a means to prod men onto personal journeys or to provoke inciting emotions (ie, a desire for rescue or revenge) in male protagonists. The women are afterthoughts, often anonymous, usually barely even characters in these stories. Continue reading…

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lost Girls is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for March 13, 2020

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her AWFJ.org archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).