Olivia Colman

The Lost Daughter: Olivia Colman’s new film has taken critics by storm

Posted by for Film

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s upcoming directorial debut is an ominous portrayal of motherhood, reworking Elena Ferrante’s best-selling novel.

Every so often, a film or TV show comes along that makes every other title look pale by comparison. Enter: The Lost Daughter.

Not only does the film star Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Paul Mescal and Jessie Buckley, but it’s an Elena Ferrante adaptation led by the inimitable Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Basically, it’s got everything going for it. And if the first reviews of the film are anything to go by, The Lost Daughter lives up to expectations.

As first pointed out by Digital Spy, The Lost Daughter has earned itself a rare 100% fresh rating on the reviews site Rotten Tomatoes – an accolade achieved by only a select list of titles.

Intrigued? Here’s everything we know about the film so far. 

What is The Lost Daughter about?

The Lost Daughter was written by Ferrante in 2006 and tells the story of Leda, a professor on a summer vacation near the ocean who becomes obsessed with a young mother she spots playing with her daughter on the beach. As she becomes more entwined with the young woman, and her unnerving family, Leda begins to remember her own history of past trauma…

Sounds atmospheric and totally moody, don’t you think? Knowing Ferrante, the story will be dripping in a time and place, and knowing Gyllenhaal, it will be turned into a very sensual film.

As Gyllenhaal said in a statement: “When I finished reading Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter, I felt that something secret and true had been said out loud. And I was both disturbed and comforted by that. I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theatre, with other people around.”

The Lost Daughter: Dakota Johnson to star alongside Olivia Colman in Elena Ferrante adaptation.
The Lost Daughter: Dakota Johnson to star alongside Olivia Colman in Elena Ferrante adaptation.

Who is in the cast of The Lost Daughter?

Colman will play Leda, while Johnson will play the young mother on the beach. Completing the cast are Buckley and Gyllenhaal’s husband Peter Sarsgaard, who will play members of Johnson’s character’s extended family, with Mescal playing Will.

Is there a trailer for The Lost Daughter?

Not yet, but we do have a series of first-look images. You can check them out below: 

When did The Lost Daughter first get announced?

Ferrante first announced The Lost Daughter back in 2018 in her column for The Guardian. In it, Ferrante penned an open letter to Gyllenhaal, giving her the creative license to do what she likes with her story, no matter how much she would wish for her to stay faithful to the source material.

“It’s important for me – for her, for all women – that her work be hers and turn out well,” Ferrante wrote. “Mine already exists, with its strengths and defects. In the great warehouse of the arts, set up mainly by men, women have for a relatively short time been seeking the means and opportunities to give a form of their own to what they have learned from life. So I don’t want to say: you have to stay inside the cage that I constructed.” 

What is the release date for The Lost Daughter?

The Lost Daughter will be released on 31 December via Netflix in the US, before landing in UK cinemas on 7 January 2022. 

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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