The Lost Daughter

The Lost Daughter ★★★½

Having both a toddler and a new born brought this film uncomfortably close to home. In Maggie Gyllenhaals remarkably assured debut, a typically fantastic Olivia Colman develops an odd fascination with Dakota Johnsons young mother while on a working holiday in Greece. While the central mystery as to Ledas past is perhaps teased too long in the second act there is an uncomfortable familiarity in those crucial flashbacks. While never condoning her eventual actions, the film empathises with her struggle. I wonder if the eventual reveal would play as strongly to non-parents. Having kids can test you to your limits. The pressure and struggle is real. But with the sacrifice comes a sense of profound joy and life affirming wonder at seeing my kids navigate the world. This shit is tough but without the love - love unlike I have ever known, it would not be possible to do. What happens if a person lacks that bond and chooses no more sacrifice. Ledas actions point towards looking for justification and vindication for what she did. There is undeniable parallels between her and Nina and perhaps if she can nudge the waning mother towards making the wrong choice then she can sleep better at night knowing that anyone with enough desperation can bend to it. Leda is the lost daughter.

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