The Lost Daughter

The Lost Daughter ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Mixed on this one. The central driving action of this movie strikes me as really dumb, but it's incredibly impressive that Gyllenhaal was able to build so much tension around what should really be the flattest of all plot devices. Looking back on it, it seems incredible to think that this family would kill Leda on account of the missing doll, but somehow a strong sense of tension permeated each scene and I couldn't help believing all the while that that was exactly what was going to happen...and, of course, in a way, this expectation kind of came to fruition. That manipulation of emotion and expectation was actually pretty impressive. The film was also pretty effective at making you feel the relentless stress of motherhood. It did, however, fail to counter with an effective expression of the power of motherly love, which really shouldn't be ignored in a film like this. It made you feel as though there was little upside to having kids. Leda's one line about the felt need of coming back to her girls after a couple of years of abandonment just seemed insufficient in expressing the prevailing power of a mother's love, which generally doesn't lead women to abandoning their children.