We round up the reviews for Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut starring Olivia Coleman.

The Guardian: **** “A rich, complex and fascinating performance from Olivia Colman is what gives this movie its piercing power: she has some old-school star quality and screen presence.”

The Independent: **** “Sadness is lanced through the heart of Gyllenhaal’s film, which she both adapted and directed, but it’s rich and luxurious in its texture.”

Rogerebert.com: **** “Harrowing, unpredictable, painful, confrontational, this is a movie for grown-ups.”

Evening Standard: ***** “Gyllenhaal’s directing and writing debut takes great source material and somehow elevates it.”

Eye For Film.co.uk: **** “The Lost Daughter captures the tiny moments of joy of motherhood, including a repeated ritual of peeling an orange, but also the way that children can deliberately push a parent’s buttons, all presented here as recollected fragments. The film comes into its own because of Gyllenhaal’s non-judgemental perspective, even sympathy, for the small suffocations of motherhood (“Children are a crushing responsibility,” Leda says).”

The Telegraph: ***** “The British star is superbly spiky as a visitor to a Greek island whose falling-out with an unpleasant family threatens to turn nasty.”

The Times: **** “The actress and first-time feature director Maggie Gyllenhaal expertly harnesses the sublime powers of Olivia Colman for this unsettling Elena Ferrante adaptation about motherhood, desire and the inevitable return of repressed guilt. Colman, an Oscar-winner and multiple Bafta-winner, has nonetheless rarely been better than she is here, as Leeds-born language professor Leda Caruso, introduced on a remote Greek island (filming location: Spetses) as a brittle holidaymaker who is by turns eccentric, aloof, vulnerable and ever so slightly unhinged — during my first viewing of the film (I’ve watched it three times, and read the book) I suspected that she was a serial killer.”

Variety: “In this remarkable directorial debut, Maggie Gyllenhaal challenges conventional thinking about motherhood, delivering her most subversive ideas as subtext.”

One Room With a View: “Adapted from the Elena Ferrante novel, Gyllenhaal’s script is superb at navigating an unorthodox and rather literary plot, which relies a lot on internalised emotion. The ensemble cast are all beautifully imagined, so much so, that you’d be quite content for the story to switch tack and follow any one of them.”

iNews: **** “An excellent, embodied turn from Olivia Colman is no huge surprise these days, but she is particularly magnetic here, in a part that leaves room for interpretation. She’s over 40, and utterly a sexual being; she grapples with ageing and regret but has a complete sense of self.”

Metro.co.uk: **** “The one blot on The Lost Daughter’s copybook is its length and subsequent pacing. Although Colman is honestly captivating doing almost anything, the film is in no rush to get to its conclusion, and trips up a little over its literary roots. This adaptation just needed a bit more tightening up for the screen, in contrast to a novel that can revell more freely in the small moments and minute details.”

NME: **** “Few films explore the murky corners of human nature quite as daringly as The Lost Daughter.”

Express.co.uk: *** “Gyllenhaal and Colman work together beautifully, the first-time director’s unfussy camera ceding the actress room to hint at Leda’s roiling emotions.”

The Upcoming: **** “Colman’s top-notch portrayal is rounded off by Jessie Buckley’s, who plays Leda at an earlier stage in her life, the complexity creating an absolute dream of a three-dimensional fictional woman. The sheer desperation she feels is palpable, not only in Leda’s flashbacks, but also in the imploring glances Nina casts at her at the beach. The fact that these two women, from different walks of life, have something in common that they are too ashamed to talk about adds an important socio-economic layer. Too often the idea of an “unfit” parent is still linked to class.”

The Lost Daughter is released in selected cinemas and Netflix on the 31st December.


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