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The Lost Daughter

Olivia Colman is Leda, a college professor who is on a working vacation on a Greek island. While she is on the beach, she encounters a woman and her daughter; the two of them appear to be having a power struggle, with the mother losing out. The encounter sets off a chain of memories of Leda’s own life as a mother of two daughters trying to raise them and start her career. This is a very good film that examines the feelings of a woman who struggled with being a mother and made choices that she doesn’t seem to entirely regret but still cause her much emotional distress. Coleman (and Jessie Buckley, who plays the younger Leda) together bring a lot of sympathy and empathy to Leda as a mom. While the decisions that Leda makes may startle us, we don’t entirely dislike Leda for them and can understand those choices. Maggie Gyllenhaal does a fine job of directing the material; I really liked the way she used flashbacks that don’t seem like flashbacks as much as threads of past and present woven together to tell a story. Coleman really shines as Leda, and she continues to demonstrate that she is one of the finest actresses of her time. (2021; 4 Stars)

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