With a golden performance from Olivia Colman, the Netflix film discusses the many forms of motherhood

With debut directorial debut and award-winning acting, “A Filha Perdida” portrays the challenges of motherhood

With a screenplay and notable direction by directorial debut Maggie Gyllenhaal, but an active actress, “The Lost Daughter” brings the challenging and multi-faceted themes of motherhood to the big screen. Based on the novel of the same name by celebrated author Elena Ferrante, whose true identity remains a mystery, the feature is already in the running for three Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay.

In addition to the female look behind the camera, the film highlights the experiences of the main characters. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal’s sister Maggie Gyllenhaal delves into the emotional and social complexities of motherhood, a subject rarely explored for its essence. Ferrante’s agreement to adapt his novel came on one condition: that a woman be at the helm.

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In the plot, actress Olivia Colman, already an Oscar winner and known worldwide for her roles in the Netflix series “The Crown,” delivers an introspective performance as the protagonist Leda. This interpretation differs from the one that cemented her in cinema, in “A Favourita” (2019), for which she won her first Oscar. At the same time, Jessie Buckley, who plays Leda in her youth, competes for the Best Supporting Actress award, an unprecedented opportunity in her career.

The Profound Experience of Motherhood in “The Lost Daughter”

In the film’s plot, Leda Caruso (Olivia Colman), a university professor of Italian literature on a trip to Greece, is attracted to the relationship between Nina (Dakota Johnson) and her young daughter, Elena. Painful and happy memories of Leda’s life as a mother are portrayed through emotional flashbacks.


Motherhood, guilt and societal expectations are explored in “A Filha Perdida”.

Leda’s perspective on the maternal role points to the societal pressures placed on women. The protagonist struggles with feelings of guilt because he is unable to present what society considers ideal, an accusation rarely leveled equally at the parents.

“A Filha Perdida” provides an opportunity for women to see themselves represented in their particular struggles. By faithfully recreating the narrative of Elena Ferrante’s novel, Maggie Gyllenhaal shines a light on the real aspects of womanhood. Not just as a social role, but as an expression of resistance and strength.

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