The Lost Daughter

2 hours, 4 minutes

Watch it for...

A non-judgmental portrait of a complicated woman wrestling with her ambition and her growing ambivalence to motherhood, set against the backdrop of Greece.


While on holiday in Greece, Leda, a college professor, becomes fascinated by Nina, a young mother with a small child. Through flashbacks, we discover that Leda has two daughters, and was married to an unhelpful but decent man. We also discover that Leda was ambitious and well-respected in her field, but not appreciated by her husband and frequently irritated by her children. She ultimately leaves her family for a few years, a massive taboo for a mother. Back in Greece, Leda becomes dangerously entangled with Nina and her family, leading to an explosive ending.

Annie's thoughts

After watching The Lost Daughter, I felt that it tackled one of society’s biggest taboos with grace and charity. Certainly, not all mothers feel as strongly motivated to take drastic action like the protagonist does in this film, but I’m sure they would empathize with what led her there. It’s a credit to the many women who created and starred in the film, which is based on a novel by Elena Ferrante. With direction by Maggie Gyllenhaal, and featuring a strong female cast, this is truly a movie by women, for women. I liked that the two stories in the film play out in parallel, one in the present and one in the past, and then come together nicely at the end. As a mother with two daughters, I also felt really seen by the light shone on mothers, daughters, and their challenges. It’s not an easy watch, but the discomfort is worth it!