Alone on a seaside vacation, Leda (Olivia Colman) becomes fascinated by 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.
Jessie Buckley (I’m Thinking Of Ending Things) plays the younger version of Leda, and we get brief glimpses of Leda’s daughters—blurring the lines between her past and the present. At times these memories overwhelm her, causing her to collapse and stumble throughout the trailer.
Her obsession, mainly with the mother (played by Suspiria’s Dakota Johnson), only grows in intensity over the duration of her trip. An impulsive act then 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. Not much is revealed about Leda’s daughters, but her attitude toward motherhood is clear with lines such as “children are a crushing responsibility.”
This truly looks like a knockout for Olivia Colman, whose grief, confusion, and resentment are palpable even in this short glimpse. Also, Johnson really pulls off the heavy eyeliner, moody mom look.
The Lost Daughter also stars Ed Harris, Peter Sarsgaard, Dagmara Dominczyk (Succession), and Paul Mescal (Normal People) as the cabana boy.
The film is based on the 2008 novel by Elena Ferrante of the same name, with Gyllenhaal writing and producing the feature for Netflix. At the Venice International Film Festival, Gyllenhaal won the screenwriting award for the film’s script.
The Lost Daughter will debut in theaters December 17, before arriving on Netflix December 31.