THE LOST DAUGHTER – Susan Granger

One great blessing of the current trend toward diversity and inclusion is that Netflix green-lit this scathingly honest psychological exploration of the ambivalence of motherhood, trusting actress Maggie Gyllenhaal to make her auspicious directing debut unraveling its psychological complexity.

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THE LOST DAUGHTER – Review by Diane Carson

Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal has given many fine performances, including Secretary, The Kindergarten Teacher, and the daring television series The Deuce for which she produced twenty-five episodes. Now as director of her first film, The Lost Daughter, Gyllenhaal advances her resume with a courageous, provocative immersion into the psyche of Leda, a middle-aged English professor on a writing holiday in Greece.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 17: THE LOST DAUGHTER

A meditation on the tension between motherhood and personal identity, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feature directorial debut The Lost Daughter — adapted from Elena Ferrante’s same-named novel — is frank in its admission that, for all of its rewards, parenting can be a pretty rough gig. No one knows that more than Leda (Olivia Colman, in a stellar performance), whose life choices come back to haunt her during what’s intended to be a relaxing Greek vacation.

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THE LOST DAUGHTER – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

There is a reason why British actress Olivia Colman, at the age of 47, is hitting her prime right now. Ever since she won an Best Actress Oscar for her role as England’s forlornly ditzy and rabbit-adoring Queen Anne in The Favourite, she’s become an English version of Meryl Streep. There seems to be nothing she can’t do. Whether it’s her unusual role as the daughter of a dementia sufferer played by the Anthony Hopkins in last year’s The Father, which led to a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod or her Emmy-winning portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II on TV’s The Crown. Then there is her horridly demeaning godmother and eventual stepmother of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character on Fleabag, which earned Colman a supporting spot on the 2019 Emmy ballot.

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THE LOST DAUGHTER – Review by Leslie Combemale

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s screenwriting and directorial feature debut elicits visceral feelings, some of them unpleasant. She would probably say that’s one of the points of her psychological drama, which she adapted from the novel by Elena Ferrante. The story centers on Leda Caruso (Olivia Colman, spectacular as always) who goes on a seaside vacation, only to become obsessed with young mother Nina (Dakota Johnson) and her toddler-aged daughter. Her fascination with the two brings back memories of her own life as a stressed-out, overextended, and largely unhappy young mother (played in flashbacks by Jessie Buckley).

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THE LOST DAUGHTER – Review by Liz Whittemore

You cannot ignore Maggie Gyllenhaal’s stunning directorial debut. The Lost Daughter finds Leda (Olivia Colman), a middle-aged professor on holiday, reminiscing about the early years of motherhood. When a mother and young daughter down the beach catch her attention, she cannot help but live and relive vicariously through them. Based on the novel by Elena Ferrante and adapted for the screen by Gyllenhaal, this complex and brutal look at the maternal instinct will strike your rawest nerve.

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THE LOST DAUGHTER – Review by Wendy Ide

On a solo holiday to a Greek Island, literature professor Leda (Olivia Colman) finds herself both fascinated and repelled by the brash extended family that shares her local beach, encroaching on her space and hijacking her attention. When a child from the family goes missing, it is Leda, level-headed in the crisis, who finds her. But this act invites unbidden memories of her own decisions as a mother, choices that she wrestles with even now, nearly 20 years later.

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I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS – Review by Susan Granger

While writer/director Charlie Kaufman’s films –Syndoche, New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich and Adaptation – are, admittedly, an acquired taste, his latest venture into dual identities and dreamlike realities is his most eerie, abstract and confusing.

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DOLITTLE – Review by Susan Granger

So many questions occurred to me whilst watching this live-action adaptation of British author Hugh Lofting’s beloved veterinarian who could communicate with animals. Like, why didn’t they use its original title: The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle? What’s with Robert Downey Jr.’s bizarre accent? Why don’t the lip movements of the computer-generated creatures match their dialogue? And why have audiences never connected with cinematic depictions of this childhood hero?

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WILD ROSE – Review by Diane Carson

Wild Rose is, in some ways, better because it indulges and then rises above the conventional arc of aspiring artist stories. Director Tom Harper has demonstrated his affection for the daring and atypical with, for example, his work on one of my favorite British television series, Peaky Blinders. Wild Rose delivers energy, thoughtful evaluation of dreams, and assertion of real values.

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