The Lost Daughter is an adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel about motherhood that says, quite ferociously: it’s complicated. And: mothers aren’t necessarily motherly, and can feel ambivalence. You’d think it was unfilmable, particularly as the central character describes herself as someone even she doesn’t understand but, directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal — it’s her directorial debut — and starring Olivia Colman, this film is entirely gripping. No ambivalence on that count.
It is carried by Colman who is tremendous, and is being tipped as a potential Oscar winner, if that matters. She is certainly now one of the greats. She is up there with Judi Dench and I do not say that lightly. Both could play a bedside table and somehow bring depth, feeling, an internal landscape.