6.5/10 My first theatrical film viewing of 2022 happened to be the directorial and screenwriting debut from Maggie Gyllenhaal. Her strength as an actress definitely comes through in working with actors as the always reliable Olivia Colman gives a performance that should be nominated for Best Actress. The acting showcased in the film is brilliant, even if the story left me wanting more. This film is adapted from a novel so while the source material doesn’t originate from Gyllenhaal herself, some changes could have been made to benefit the material. One problem Gyllenhaal has is with the pacing. At just over two hours, the film feels slow at times and drags under the weight of far too many flashbacks. What feels like a slow burn left me expecting an explosive finale but the film goes out on a bit of a whimper, leaving me disappointed in all the build-up. Another problem I had was with the score, which several tracks didn’t feel like they went with what was unfolding onscreen at all. This often gives a jarring, distracting mood to the viewer. That being said, there is still a fair amount to admire here. Gyllenhaal does a fine job directing and is able to convey emotions well. The feeling of a mother feeling trapped by her misbehaving children, the appeal of a steamy affair and another life, the regret of ending up alone, etc. All of these feelings are expertly portrayed by Gyllenhaal and this first rate cast. The supporting cast of Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Ed Harris and Gyllenhaal’s husband and first rate pirate name Peter Sarsgaard all bring their A game to the film. The Italian locations are gorgeous and the cinematography beautifully captures both the stunning beauty of the beach as well as the claustrophobic close-ups while characters are rapidly unraveling. Gyllenhaal has a talent for dialogue and realism, even if it takes a little too long to convey it all. Scenes of singing in the car or dancing to music could be trimmed or cut out to cut down on the running time. In the end, Gyllenhaal shows great potential as a director and screenwriter and I would love to see her with better material. Not that this material was bad, but the underwhelming ending leaves much to be desired. A slower film but extremely well acted and shot, “The Lost Daughter” is a brilliant showcase of Colman’s acting and an interesting look at mothers who regret having kids but are too afraid to talk about it.

#TheLeastFavourite / #LedaingLady / #LylesAndTribulations / #ImDrinkingAndEndingThings / #TheLowNote / #ACloseDoll

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