‘Tis the film season of complicated mothers. Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers” is slated for an awards-friendly holiday release, and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s similarly themed feature directorial debut will follow right behind. As the gorgeous new trailer shows, the austere story stars Olivia Colman as a comparative literature professor who becomes consumed with an Italian American family while on a solo seaside vacation in Italy. As she observes mother and child together, she is haunted by visions of her own maternal failings.
The film received rave reviews out of its premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, with critics singling out performances from Colman, Dakota Johnson, and Jessie Buckley as potential awards contenders.
Here’s the official synopsis, per Netflix: “Alone on a seaside vacation, Leda (Olivia Colman) becomes consumed with a young mother and daughter as she watches them on the beach. Unnerved by their compelling relationship, (and their raucous and menacing extended family), Leda is overwhelmed by her own memories of the terror, confusion and intensity of early motherhood. An impulsive act shocks Leda into the strange and ominous world of her own mind, where she is forced to face the unconventional choices she made as a young mother and their consequences”
The film also stars Ed Harris, Peter Sarsgaard, Dagmara Dominczyk, and Paul Mescal.
IndieWire’s positive review had this to say: “Gyllenhaal’s film is a story of self-ascribed transgression and of shame buried and turned bitterly inward, and it too, is made with such alertness to the power of cinematic language — particularly that of performance — that even as you feel your stomach slowly drop at the implications of what you’re watching, you cannot break its spreading sinister spell.”
“The Lost Daughter” is based on a lesser known early novel by mysterious Italian author Elena Ferrante, who is best known for The Neapolitan Novels, a four-part series which is mid-adaptation as an HBO series. Long a topic of speculation in the literary world, Ferrante is a pen name for the author whose true identity is still unknown.
Netflix will release “The Lost Daughter” in theaters on December 17, and on Netflix December 31, clearly hoping for an awards-friendly reception. Check out the first trailer below.