The Lost Daughter

The Lost Daughter

I'm a little concerned that the real power of this will escape some who might only see in it a certain... "televisual" quality? I think that's become the general term of accusation for what I have in mind. And I absolutely see how the lensing, etc. might nudge people in that direction. I think there's a lot more going on; formally, a savvy use of the basics -- actors with impeccably expressive faces, the tight shot/reverse rhythms that know to remain open-ended and linger when it counts -- gets this movie a long way. Ferrante's vibe in itself gets you much of the rest of the way. Gyllenhaal has made her own movie, but she's nailed the thing that feels hardest to nail in a Ferrante adaptation, in my opinion: that underlying, through-going whisper of dread that, in Ferrante's work, hits you as early as the first page, even if, reading it back, you can't entirely figure out why.

Colman, Buckley, Harris, Mescal, Johnson, Dominczyk (!!), Sarsgaard, Rohrwacher... There's a version of this movie that would have taken the mysteries of these actors for granted, flattened them, cheapened them, made them consumable rather ungraspable. This is not that movie. But if you wind up thinking it's that movie, I can see how you got there.

K. Austin liked this review