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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 23, 2022



‘THE LOST DAUGHTER’ is the directorial debut of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. She also wrote the script based on the novel by Elena Ferrante. 

The lead character is Leda Caruso (Olivia Colman), a college professor vacationing in a beach resort in Greece.

While there, she sees a family also in the same resort and meets Nina (Dakota Johnson), who has a 3-year old daughter, Elena. 

Nina is alarmed when she cannot find her child but Leda finds Elena playing in the woods and returns her to her mother. But the girl is unconsolable when she cannot find her treasured doll.

As a young mother, it is revealed that Leda (played by Jessie Buckley in the flashback scenes), had a hard time rearing her own two daughters, often alienated from them. 

In the present, it’s revealed that Leda learns that Nina is having an illicit affair with the resort’s friendly and good looking handyman, Will (Paul Mescal). 

Nina says its because her husband (Oliver Jackson Cohen) is very domineering. Nina even asks Leda if she and Will could use her cottage for their secret assignations.

 Leda confides to Nina that she has once left her own daughters when she had an affair with a co-professor (Peter Sarsgaard). She only returned to her family when she missed her daughters. 

Nina herself is feeling overwhelmed by her duties to her daughter who continues to cry for her missing doll. It turns out Leda herself deliberately took the doll and said she was just playing. 

When she returns it to Nina, but naturally, Nina gets mad and stabs Leda on the tummy with a hatpin.

Leda leaves the resort but the pain on her tummy wound causes her to collapse on the beach. Honestly, we really hate this film because, in the end, there is redemption for Leda when she deserves a bigger punishment.  

Western critics are lionizing it for allegedly being an allegedly serious portrait about the difficulties of motherhood and the lead character’s desires, doubts and regrets in her life.

Honestly, we cannot relate with Leda at all. She is the first one to admit that she is selfish and “an unnatural mother.” In our culture, mothers are sacrificial, caring, patient, loving. 

They’ll do anything for their children. But Leda is an adulteress who even abandoned her own daughter for her own personal ambition and lust. 

Then later on, she even stole an innocent girl’s doll for no reason at all, and she feels no compunction even when she sees the girl crying her heart out because of her missing doll. How can you expect us to sympathize with her? 

When Nina stabbed her, we really wish she had used a bigger knife and stabbed her in the heart. Leche siyang malandi siya!

At the start of the movie, we didn’t like her already as she comes up like a “masungit na matanda” when the family of beach goers arrived and she found them loud and noisy. 

When they ask her if she could move a bit so they can occupy a bit more space as a family, she adamantly refused. 

She wants to be isolated and resents their intrusion, showing that she has such a disagreeable persona and we just cannot relate with her. 

The flashbacks on her younger days as a mother are even more negative. She doesn’t deserve to be a mother since she finds it so hard to raise children and they treat them more as an inconvenience. 

After a while, we find the movie quite tedious, meandering, with some sequences quite repetitive. Leda’s story is not really engaging enough to warrant her being the protagonist in any movie. 

Maybe, western audiences, who look at parenting as more of drudgery rather than one of the best graces God can give to any person, can relate with it but personally, we find Leda a very flawed and insufferable character and the movie itself so unsatisfying. 

Her type should be sterilized right away and never be allowed to be a mother at all. Tangina niya!