“The Lost Daughter”
Despite fine performances by Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley, writer-director Maggie Gyllenhaal’s debut feature is all sizzle and no steak (and not much bona fide sizzle at that). In telling a suspense thriller, the key is the creation and maintenance of “suspense,” and there’s precious little of that here. Instead, viewers are presented with a long-winded narrative that’s boring, meandering and often obvious, with a payoff that offers little captivation, surprise or impact. Many reviewers have praised the work as an ambitious and noteworthy attempt at translating complex source material into a finished cinematic product, but that’s like saying “Nice job at almost getting it right” or “Hearty congratulations on finishing seventh.” It’s become truly frustrating and disappointing this year to see yet another underwhelming new movie offering being lauded with piles of undeserved accolades, but, like so many other offerings before it, this is more proof of what a truly lousy year in cinema 2021 has been. If you really want to see this one, don’t waste your money on a theater ticket – just wait until you can stream it as part of your Netflix subscription and then do your best to try and stay awake.