Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson And A Taboo Subject, It’s The Lost Daughter On Netflix

Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first feature film, “The Lost Daughter” takes a complex look at motherhood and explores the demons of a female character brilliantly embodied by Olivia Colman. Watch on Netflix.


During a solo seaside vacation, Leda is fascinated by a young mother and her daughter whom she observes on the beach. Shaken by their close-knit relationship (as well as their noisy and intimidating large family), Leda is overwhelmed by terror, confusion, and the intensity of her memories of early motherhood. An impulsive act plunges her back into the eerie and disturbing twists and turns of her mind, forcing her to confront the unconventional choices she made as a young mother and their consequences.

The Lost Daughter, Written by Elena Ferrante, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal.


For his first achievement, Maggie Gyllenhaal summons around it a breathtaking cast. She offers Olivia Colman, Oscar winner for The Favorite and applauded for her performance in The Crown, the film’s first role.

Facing her, Dakota Johnson, revealed in Fifty Shades of Gray and stunning in Suspiria by Luca Guadagnino, embodies a young mother overwhelmed. Paul Mescal, discovered in the Normal People miniseries, plays a seasonal employee alongside Ed Harris (The Truman Show, Abyss) and Peter Sarsgaard (Boys Don’t Cry, Dopesick), director’s spouse in Town. Finally, Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose, Judy) plays the young version of Leda, the character of Olivia Colman.


Confirmed actress and with the crowned career of several successes, Maggie Gyllenhaal launches out in the direction. A new adventure that is already making sparks because, since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, in September 2021, where it won the award for best screenplay, his film is covered with praise.

With The Lost Daughter, she adapts the novel by Elena Ferrante, Stolen doll, and tackles a difficult subject: maternal regret. In many cultures, the mother is a sacred figure, and so is motherhood.

Through the fate of Leda, central character of this story, the director will reverse these preconceived ideas and offer a portrait of a rare woman in cinema. Can a mother regret having children? Does she have the right not to feel comfortable in their presence? Can she love them, but still want to live without them? So many questions that remain taboo today.

Yannis Drakoulidis / Netflix

Olivia Colman, magistrale dans “The Lost Daughter”.

For those who recognize it, The Lost Daughter can be an opportunity to allay a feeling of guilt and finally find themselves in an honest point of view, told without the slightest judgment. Others, on the contrary, will undoubtedly see it as a film with provocative themes that are difficult to accept.

However, Maggie Gyllenhaal gets down to it with great delicacy. She puts the woman and her desires back at the center, but also all the responsibility that weighs on her shoulders. An injunction which the father traditionally dispenses with.

This adaptation is at the crossroads of genres. It is both a drama and a psychological thriller, the anxiety of which sets in as the characters bond. After a succession of bad decisions, the heroine played by Olivia Colman finds herself trapped by her own lies. The spectator then witnesses a rise in tension that the director knows how to perpetuate.

Yannis Drakoulidis / Netflix

Dakota Johnson is more mysterious than ever in “The Lost Daughter”.

Like he usually does, Olivia Colman signs a millimeter and nuanced interpretation. Always on the go, it can be as endearing as it is disturbing. Jessie Buckley, who played the same character a few years earlier, is equally admirable. This is also the case with Dakota Johnson, magnetic, whose play passes above all by the glances exchanged with Olivia Colman. The scenes between the two actresses constitute the most intense moments of the film.

The Lost Daughter allows its characters – and its spectators – to be imperfect. Maggie Gyllenhaal offers a sensitive, human and courageous first feature film about these mothers who live their role without fulfillment. Because of its subject, the film can be disturbing, but it has the audacity to highlight stories intentionally ignored.

The Lost Daughter est disponible sur Netflix.

Interview by Thomas Desroches, in Paris, December 3, 2021.

Montage : Clara Colin

Check out the movie trailer: