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“The Lost Daughter”: One of the films of the year deals with one of the biggest taboos in society

“The Lost Daughter”: One of the films of the year deals with one of the biggest taboos in society

He’s an Oscar nominee. It is about a mother who left her daughters with their father, crushed by the burden of motherhood.

Olivia Colman is the protagonist.

The narrative begins as a middle-aged woman (played by Olivia Colman) embarks on a lonely vacation on a sunny Mediterranean beach. But it soon becomes clear that a dark secret hovers around this protagonist named Leda.

It is not, like many other films, a story of trauma or suppressed abuse. The screenplay for The Lost Daughter – directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and based on a 2006 short story by Elena Ferrante – revolves around one of society’s biggest taboos.

It focuses on a mother who left her (adult) daughters with their father, crushed by the burden of motherhood. The protagonist is not portrayed as a victim: she is a woman whose motherhood has limited her body, sleep, academic career, career opportunities, identity or sensuality. It’s a mother.

This woman never speaks of regrets about having or leaving her daughters. At the same time, this character feels neither guilt, nor happiness, nor relief. Although viewers see her as selfish or emotionally distant, Leda is portrayed as a person who is not evil.

Representing a desperate search for peace, the holiday is plagued by little things – whether it’s a cicada that won’t shut up, a bowl of rotten fruit, or a rowdy Italian-American family also spending a few days there.

It is with this family that you will end up interacting and showing your concern and kindness. This is especially true when Nina’s daughter (Dakota Johnson) goes missing for a while. The event throws Leda straight into her distant memories as one of her daughters happened the same thing on the beach.

In the end, the story questions our view of motherhood – not seen as current for a woman who doesn’t want to give up almost everything to be a mother, the fact that not all women immediately move into this role in their lives – with a protagonist, she doesn’t love this role, which even shows a certain resentment towards her daughters.

The film also includes a series of flashbacks to a younger version of Leda, played by Jessie Buckley. She is sometimes inflexible and even vengeful towards the girls. But it also vibrates when you play with them or teach them to read. She’s not a malicious mother, she’s a mother who hasn’t properly identified with motherhood.

On this Mediterranean beach, Leda comforts Nina and also her daughter when she finally finds them. And as she tells a pregnant woman in her Italian-American family, motherhood is “an overwhelming responsibility.”

The Lost Daughter focuses on this character caught up in dilemmas and conflicts without peace while questioning what is expected of a woman. There is no good or bad, there is no total wrong or right, just different perspectives and sometimes conflicting feelings.

The cast also includes names such as Ed Harris, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Mescal, Jack Farthing, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Dagmara Dominczyk.

The film, which has been named as one of the main contenders for this year’s Oscars, opens in Portuguese cinemas this Thursday, February 3rd. It is available on Netflix in several countries, but will not be included in the streaming platform’s Portuguese catalogue.

Click through the gallery to see other top Oscar nominees.


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