The Lost Daughter (2021) Review

Leda appears to be enjoying a nice holiday, but when she focuses on a young mother Nina the memories of her own life and the early years of being a mother herself come flooding back to her.


The Lost Daughter is a rather complex way of telling the story and background of our main character in Leda, with the constant flashbacks to her when she was younger and that constant thought of regret to her choices. When on holiday in Greece and seeing Nina with her young daughter, she feels as though she fully relates to the young woman and that she is feeling the ways she did with her own daughters. That quite frankly she did not want them.

It doesn’t take long for it all to feel rather strange and you second guess everything that is said and I had a few theories early on about what I thought was going to be the direction of the story and this was very wrong. I seriously thought it was going to be about a child going missing, when Nina’s daughter disappeared and the despair that then followed, especially with the flashback to Lena and her daughter going missing on a beach. But that was not the case at all and quite frankly I still feel my theory might have been a better film and story than the one we ended up with for this film.

When she first arrives in Greece everything seems nice and calm, giving her the chance to catch up with some work, but when a family arrive they are loud and inconsiderate to those around them believing everyone should just do as they want. Striking up a friendship with Will who was working at the beach bar, it felt at times that this was going to be a very strange relationship but luckily didn’t take that turn.

When we see the flashbacks to younger Lena it appears that she has it all in her life with two young daughters, a husband who loved her and beginning to get success with her work in literature. That was never enough though and an affair led to the breakdown of the marriage and her attitude and treatment of her daughters was not really great in all honesty. It never really felt like she should have been a mother, even with then trying to show some positive moments everything about her persona was rather wrong really. I guess it’s an ambitious film in that sense as women are always seen as maternal and maybe that doesn’t always happen?

The cinema scene is certainly one we can relate to right? How annoyed she gets with the horrendous attitude of the youngsters who want nothing more than to stop people enjoying the film. Lyle is another strange character who shows Lena into her room/apartment set up where she is staying and they have a few conversations. However, when the majority of the story becomes about a missing doll and the fact that Lena actually took it shows that her behaviour is rather psychotic. The family were all horrendous and quite frankly this film doesn’t have any likeable characters.

It seems to be one of those films that has left me a little bit baffled about the high praise and wondering if I missed something that was key? I can honestly say that I didn’t and I found it quite the slog to get through.

Olivia Colman delivers a good performance that is for sure as a woman haunted by her past, with Jessie Buckley taking on the young version of the same character also putting in a good performance. Ed Harris should have been in it more, as let’s face it he can always improve the quality of a film. Paul Mescal making the transfer to film after his starring role in Normal People.

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