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Warning: This article contains spoilers.
Released on New Year's Eve, the film is an adaptation of the Italian novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante.
Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal in her feature film directorial debut, the psychological drama film follows the lives of two mums across two different timelines.
Leda, played by Olivia Colman, is a middle-aged university professor who meets Nina (Dakota Johnson), a young mum with a three-year-old daughter.
The two mums meet on holiday in Greece and after Nina expresses her unhappiness, Leda has flashbacks, in which the character is played by actress Jessie Buckley.
The flashbacks reveal a time when she also struggled being a young mum to two daughters in a cramped New York City apartment and childcare duties often fell on her shoulders.
Her husband Joe (Jack Farthing) is a scientist and and Leda must balance studying translation and comparative literature.
One viewer Twitter praised the cast and the film's exploration of motherhood. They wrote: "#TheLostDaughter is a gorgeous and haunting portrait of the highs and lows of motherhood. Maggie Gyllenhaal made a beautiful film and it's her first film wow. Olivia Colman!! Jessie Buckley!! Dakota Johnson! Everyone here is stellar."
Another person reflected on the theme of motherhood: "I f*cking loved #TheLostDaughter What a fantastic directorial debut by Gyllenhaal that portraits the difficulties of motherhood in a way we rarely see onscreen.
"Colman gives a really incredible and moving performance. Johnson is so good. Buckley steals the show. The score is amazing."
While a third Twitter user shared: "#TheLostDaughter is an excellent debut by Maggie Gyllenhall. Olivia Colman hits it out of the park with a character that all of us secretly want to see on the screen, but so rarely do."
And a fourth viewer shared: "I’ve finally seen #TheLostDaughter and it kept me awake all night! Leda Caruso’s character is so raw, you will get caught in the middle of wanting to question her choices but at the same time, your heart will ache so much for her. It’s exquisite, provocative, fearless— so human."
As their marriage struggles, Leda and her husband Joe meet a young couple who speak about the man leaving behind his own children and former partner for a new life.
Leda then meets an academic named Professor Hardy (Peter Sarsgaard) and the two soon engage in an affair.
But the affair eventually ends, it’s a turning point in Leda’s life and inspires her to leave her marriage and family.
When she tells her husband she plans to end the marriage, he threatens to take their daughters back to England to stay with Leda’s mum. Undeterred, Leda decides to walk away.
In the present, Nina has an affair with Will (Paul Mescal) who works at the resort they’re staying at and tells Leda her husband Toni is controlling. During a conversation with Leda, the academic says after leaving her daughters she only visited them when she genuinely missed them.
The Lost Daughter has received critical acclaim and has a stellar 95 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes. The website's critical consensus calls reads: “A strikingly assured debut for writer-director Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter unites a brilliant cast in service of a daringly ambitious story.”
The Lost Daughter is available to stream on Netflix now.
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