The Lost Daughter Trailer: Olivia Colman Stars In Maggie Gyllenhaal's Haunting Directorial Debut

"Don't let it break, peel it like a snake."

Written and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Lost Daughter" is adapted from Elena Ferrante's novel of the same name. The film stars Best Actress Oscar winner Olivia Colman ("The Favourite") in the lead role as Leda Caruso, a woman who foments a growing obsession with a mother and daughter she sees while on vacation.

This subgenre, in which a woman slowly unravels while obsessing over something, is one of the most emotionally exhausting but effective subgenres in film. The way a given protagonist processes her trauma becomes something of a Rorschach test for the filmmaker; the bumps in the night and the hysterical paranoias on screen reflect the director as much as the main character. What's Gyllenhaal afraid of these days?

The Lost Daughter Trailer

Maggie Gyllenhaal has transitioned from her indie acting days to more work behind the camera. Just a few years back, she served as a producer in the scandalous HBO drama series "The Deuce" during its run between 2017–19 (she also had a starring role), and in 2020 the older sibling of actor Jake Gyllenhaal snagged an executive producer credit on Michael Parks Randa and Lauren Smitelli's musical feature "Best Summer Ever." She also seems like the type of filmmaker who will stack the crew with talented women, and Hélène Louvart's presence as director of photography is no exception. The French cinematographer has worked with Agnès Varda, Claire Denis, and Léos Carax, which is nothing to sniff at, and her inclusion behind the lens bodes well for a gorgeous, visually poetic runtime. And with Colman and Johnson trading lines, you can't ask for better in a psychological thriller.

Dakota Johnson ("Suspiria"), Ed Harris, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Mescal, Dagmara Dominczyk, Alba Rohrwacher, Jack Farthing, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen also star, with Panos Koronis, Robyn Elwell, Ellie Blake, and Athena Martin rounding out the cast. The film, shot during the global COVID-19 pandemic, is produced by Osnat Handelsman Keren, Talia Kleinhendler, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Charles Dorfman.

The synopsis, via 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 Lost Daughter" arrives in select theaters December 17, 2021 and on Netflix December 31.