Maggie Gyllenhaal’s the Lost Daughter Shatters the Image of Hollywood’s Perfect Mothers 

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s the Lost Daughter Shatters the Image of Hollywood’s Perfect Mothers 

In Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first directorial debut, The lost daughter, she chose to adapt a story to the screen that shows the darker sides of motherhood. Adapted from Elena Ferrante’s novel of the same name, the movie can be classified as both a drama and a thriller. The book wasn’t easy to adapt to because of its off-putting premise and unlikable lead character, but Gyllenhaal decided to bring the story to life on screen. 

The movie follows Leda, a divorcee and a mother of two daughters. She has no contact with her daughters after she left them three years ago when they were little kids. While on a vacation, she meets a young mother and her kid. Without knowing the reason behind it, her obsession with their relationship grows. One day she does something questionable—steals the kid’s doll. 

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While Gyllenhaal knew what she wanted to portray on screen, she only wanted Oscar and Emmy-winning actress Olivia Coleman to play Leda. 

In a conversation with Netflix Queue, Olivia said that she was convinced after she read the script. 


Soon Jessie Buckley and Dakota Johnson were on board to play the young version of Leda and the young mother that Leda meets on vacation, respectively. Despite not being a mother, Dakota understood Leda’s inner conflicts and sympathized with her. 

Gyllenhaal found comfort in knowing Leda 

A mother of two, Gyllenhaal, was not afraid to say that she related to Leda and found comfort in knowing that she was not the only mother to find the job so overwhelming. 

Hollywood is ever too keen to portray types of mothers – perfect and imperfect. But no one is willing to admit that at times mothers can both love and resent their kids. Leda is ashamed that she left her kids but she is proud that she is living her life. 

Gyllenhaal has been nominated for the Oscars as the Best Adapted Screenplay. The lead stars, Olivia Coleman and Jessie Beckley, also scored a nomination for best leading and supporting roles, respectively.  

What do you think of the portrayal of mothers in The Lost Daughter? Let us know in the comments below.

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