Netflix’s Unsettling Film “The Lost Daughter” Mediocre at Best

Netflixs Unsettling Film The Lost Daughter Mediocre at Best

Katie Schwartz, Staff Writer

“The Lost Daughter” was released to Netflix on Dec. 24. Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, it is the story of an “old” mother named Leda who takes a vacation to Italy. During the vacation, Leda meets a “young” mother, Nina, who reminds her of herself at that age. She starts to get very invested in Nina and her daughter, Elena.

“The Lost Daughter” starts with a scene depicting Leda suddenly falling to her side on the beach, dangerously close to the ocean current. The viewer won’t quite understand that scene until the movie closes out, coming full circle by replaying that beginning scene. Only this time, it’s in context. 

The way the plot unfolds and the story progresses is through both present moments and flashbacks, which adds a unique and interesting element of complexity to the film. The filming angle and style looked old time-y to me, done on purpose though, as this movie is quite recent. That choice adds to the peculiarity by empathizing certain elements throughout the story. For instance, modern technology is not present much throughout the movie, so the camera work adds to that old fashioned vibe. 

This coming of age movie gives insight into the life of a young mother who can’t properly take care of her two children, and doesn’t want to either. It takes us through her story, her past, and shines a light on the struggles of motherhood that are rarely talked about. These memories are awakened by Leda observing Nina’s relationship with both her daughter and husband. As the viewers, we are taken through the journey of Leda’s life, and witness how her early motherhood and regretful past shaped her into the person she is on this vacation, for the worse. 

Overall, I thought the movie was insightful, but a little creepy and suspenseful at times. It was full of a wide range of emotions, ranging from happy times to dark and depressing ones. Throughout the film, I found myself both confused and bored at various points, never fully on board with who was the good guy, or if there even was one. It’s definitely a serious film, not a light hearted one, despite a couple joyous scenes scattered here and there. The viewing experience lasted for two hours and four minutes, which is pretty standard, but felt longer to me. I’d recommend Netflix’s “The Lost Daughter” to anyone looking to learn about the struggles of parenthood, as well as the responsibilities and necessary time commitment involved.