Society continually loads us with positive messages about motherhood. About how wonderful it is to live the adventure of having and raising a child. About the personal and emotional growth you will experience. But much less is said about the hidden side of motherhood and the insecurities it generates. No one prepares you for how hard it can be. Yes, it is true that we hear the term postpartum depression more and more, but there is still a lot of mythology surrounding motherhood. This is precisely the subject with which actress Maggie Gyllenhaal makes her directorial debut. The Lost Daughter (2021) is about motherhood with almost all its contradictions.
Movie ‘The Lost Daughter‘ (2021)
Narrated in two halves, through a succession of flashbacks, it tells the story of Leda, a university professor of literature, who decides to go on holiday to a Greek island with the intention of resting and writing. Little is known about her. Every morning, she sits on the beach and watches and writes. Leda, played in the present by Olivia Colman and in the past by Jessie Buckley, feels the weight of loneliness, to which she seems accustomed. Soon, her tranquillity is interrupted by a family visiting the same beach. One of the members of this family, Nina (Dakota Johnson), is a young mother with whom the protagonist soon finds herself identifying. Through the relationship that develops between the two women, Leda will remember, showing the viewer episodes of her previous life as a wife and as a mother.
My personal review
Maggie Gyllenhaal adapts a story by the writer Elena Ferrante. The director’s debut feature is a film that, revolving around motherhood, is capable of showing happiness mixed with feelings of frustration and guilt. How a couple’s relationship suffers. What we are willing to give up and what we are not, and how we will be judged by society if we do not behave as we are supposed to. The Dark Daughter is a profound reflection on the choices we make and the weight of their consequences
A splendid adaptation of the novel written by Elena Ferrante
One of the conditions that Elena Ferrante imposed in order to give the green light to the project was that Maggie Gyllenhaal would be in charge of directing the film. La figlia oscura (Ed. Lumen, 2018), one of the elusive Ferrante’s most haunting novels, has been adapted to film by the filmmaker with tremendous sensitivity.
The Lost Daughter is intriguing and thoughtful, and deals with early motherhood with great rawness. The film, uncomfortable at times, is full of ambiguity and sensuality. Gyllenhaal has succeeded in creating a dark film shrouded in an atmosphere of uncertainty and menace. Able to describe the feelings of the protagonists in a very real way, the film draws the viewer in from the very first minutes.
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