This article by New Yorker author Richard Brody's critique of Maggie Gyllenhaal's first film, The Lost Daughter Starring Olivia Coleman and Dakota Johnson.
About a month ago, when I first saw Maggie Gyllenhaal's adaptation of Elena Franta's novel The Lost Girl, I was convinced there was something missing in the film. Although I had not read the book, I was convinced that the novel was written with a first-person narrator and was full of memories, thoughts, views, and feelings that were translated directly into words. That perception, which arose from reality, determined the main reason for the failure of this film, however complete; Summarize a literary source in the form of a plot. In addition, the change of the first-person narrator to the omniscient in the film has diminished the story's emotion, psychology, and thought-provoking power. And this has made the film seem both short and long, a compact story that stretches and rushes into a two-hour film.
The film at night Starts; A woman in a white dress (Olivia Coleman) stumbling, apparently with blood stains on her shirt, walks on the beach until the beach falls to the ground. We watch the rest of the film with flashbacks to reach that vague catastrophe. The woman is Lida Caruso, a 48-year-old professor at the University of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who has rented a floor of a beach house on an imaginary island in Greece for the summer and intends to take advantage of this secluded opportunity to work. He goes to the beach, takes Dante's paradise out of his bag and reads, writes incomprehensible things in his notebook (we don't see enough writing on the stage to read) and meets a happy young man, a twenty-four-year-old Italian student named Will (Paul Mescal). ) Who is in business and has come to Greece for work on vacation, is requesting ice cream. But the arrival of a large and noisy American family from Queens, New York, with a series of violent and rude young men and a playful little child, distracts the woman. There is an inner aggression in the presence of men of latent and pervasive violence, and in the presence of noisy women, and Lida soon falls in love with them. But then, with Kelly stepping in, the patriarch of the family (Dagmara Dominic), and his apology, the seemingly tense tension calms down. The university professor's relationship with Kelly's family becomes closer when a little Girl disappears from their family and Lida goes looking for a child with them and the Girl is born. The girl's mother, Nina (Dakota Johnson), is Kelly's younger wife.film will be narrated on Flashback, and now we see Jesse Buckley in the role of young Lida trying to live her academic and personal life, raising children and her husband Joe (Jack Farting), who, like him, is an academic but has the burden of life. He puts more on Lida's shoulders, to move forward. Tired of this situation, Lida leaves her family, divorces and does not see her children for three years. At the moment, the attention and memories of middle-aged Lida in the face of the full-blown mirror of this large family full of lust for life are focused on only one small point; The missing Girl is deeply attached to a doll, as was one of Lida's daughters and Lida herself. Lida sees the baby doll after the baby is Lost on the beach, picks it up, hides it, and obsessively starts washing, dressing, and playing with it.
The film uses mental memory and Turning it into an image does not work well because the director's strategy for gluing the pieces together is vague and scattered. The scenes from Lida's point of view evoke immediate perceptions and emotions: images of men making noisy and masculine physical jokes on the beach, women intensely involved in the hustle and bustle of family life, and a missing Girl alone in a rocky corner. All of this is in such a way that it seems not exactly the details of reality, but in fact Lida's different reaction to events and to the characters. However, these immediate reactions do not remain constant - they are both dramatically and psychologically insignificant - and this is equally the result of both Gyllenhaal's direction and his screenplay.
The film with emotional close-ups (but made without imagination) of Leda quickly gives the audience a sense of closeness. But many scenes are made solely to show events and evoke a faint sense of physical presence and action, even in scenes where physical features are crucial, such as when Lida picks up and hides a doll, something that leaves the film obscure. , As if it is a crucial moment that carries the danger of emptiness or evil. The artificiality of the puppetry, as well as the centrality of the theft in Lida's character and plot, desperately needs a color of reality, both physically and in a more detailed way, like a crime drama, and psychologically. To the layers of Lida's experience, memory and feelings.
There are some very strange moments in the film that show how much Gyllenhaal downplays Leda's character. When in one of the flashbacks, young Lida tells her husband Joe that she is leaving, Joe threatens to hand over the children to their grandmother, Lida's mother. Lida reacts with horror, calling herself a "black toilet" as a child, and also reminds Joe with horror and humiliation that her mother never finished school. In the film, this statement is surprisingly classy how many lovable, intelligent, and intelligent people are illiterate or illiterate and strangely inconsistent with the film's portrayal of Lida's mood. (Another overlooked issue in class coherence is that wealthy Greek Americans may be richer than Lida - they rent a large villa and Lida a modest apartment - but Lida's obvious intellectual culture is her social capital.) I was confused until I found out that in Franta's novel, Leda is from Naples, that the families on the beach are also from Naples and implicitly belong to the criminal underworld, and that Lida is from her family and city environment, which is harsh for her studies and career. Has escaped, and that the appearance of a family on the beach is not only a general threat to aggression and motherhood, but also a reminder of Lida's childhood fears.
Returns to the town of Shipley in England () In terms of ethnicity and biological experience of the cultural features and regions of the troubled coastal family, it significantly reduces character and drama - and, most importantly, reduces the power of contemporary beach scenes. The powerful effect of watching that family on the beach, which leads to a virtual return to the hero's horrible past, gives way to a public outcry over the coastal family's aggressive commotion. The film focuses on Lida's heavy, lonely drama today, the stresses of her life as a young mother and her leap to independence by separating herself from her children, placing much of the dramatic burden on Lida's relationship with the younger women of the aggressive coastal family: Forty-two-year-old Kali, who is pregnant with her first child, gives an honest account of her mother's problems, calling it a "tough responsibility." His relationship with Nina revolves around that Lost puppet until other dramatic complexities become apparent between them later in the film. Lida's relationship with Will (who Lida seems to be interested in as well) and with her elderly landlady, Lyle (Ed Harris), who clumsily looks at Lida, is merely a joke about Lida's state of mind, desires and life. . However, these unpredictable relationships, ironically tied to the fateful events of his past, become the main points of the narrative line, which, instead of being dramatically necessary, are merely mechanically embedded in the script.
Gyllenhaal places most of the film's emotional burden on the story of a young professor and emerging scientist (who is Lida) whose ambitions are in danger of being suppressed by maternal needs. His present story is weakened by the novel being summarized in plot and setting aside the narrator's voice and mental activity, which increases the effectiveness of the story. A bolder adaptation of the novel could be made, the scenes became longer, and Lida's drama as a young mother became more than a handful of cause-and-effect relationships, and the narrator's voice was not removed. But instead, "The Lost Girl" stands somewhere in between and shows neither Lida's life nor her character fairly.
"The Lost Girl," despite its dramatic shortcuts, is a great achievement. It comes because it is inherently a meta-film (a film that deliberately tells the audience that what they see is a product of imagination); A kind of film that is sadly rare. This film, an adaptation of Franta's novel, shows the severe lack of current cinema of dramas that do what is always done in literature: showing the lives of women in private detail and in view of their deep-rooted and diverse experience. The important thing about "The Lost Girl" is the sad fact that the filmmaking world has no one like Elena Franta. Whatever the literary adaptation contracts and shortcuts that the film reflects, Gyllenhaal has challenged filmmakers and producers, the film industry as a whole, and the future of the art.
Source: newyorkerTags: lost, girl, movie;, maggie, gyllenhaal's, great, rare, achievement, film, industry