Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Everything We Know About The Lost Daughter

"The Lost Daughter" is an upcoming film based on a 2006 novel of the same name by Italian author Elena Ferrante. The story focuses on a divorced mother who takes a beach vacation when her daughters go to live with their father. However, things take a menacing turn after the presence of another family reminds her of a choice she made for her family and its long-lasting consequences. The movie will be Oscar-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal's directorial debut. Gyllenhaal also adapted the novel into a script and is serving as a producer on the project. 

Netflix recently acquired the global rights to the film. Gyllenhaal, who also starred in Netflix's "The Kindergarten Teacher," said in a statement that she's happy to be working with the streaming service again. "They have supported so much of the work I am most proud of, and this is no exception. Netflix has consistently championed filmmakers that excite and inspire me and I'm delighted to be included in that company," she said. 

Here's what we know so far about "The Lost Daughter." 

When is the release date for The Lost Daughter?

"The Lost Daughter" was filmed in 2020, according to Deadline. While it was originally slated to shoot in New Jersey, COVID-19 restrictions moved the production to Greece (via Indiewire). However, the film is set in the same place as the book: Italy. 

Attendees of the Venice Film Festival, which takes place September 1-11, will be the first to see the movie when it debuts there alongside other Netflix projects like "The Power of the Dog" and "The Hand of God" (via Variety). It's also coming to the New York Film Festival, which runs from September 24 to October 10 (via The Hollywood Reporter), where it will screen beside movies like the much-anticipated "Dune" from Denis Villeneuve and "The French Dispatch" from Wes Anderson.

Following its appearances on the film festival circuit, "The Lost Daughter" is slated for a limited theatrical release on December 17, 2021 (via Indiewire). Then it will hit Netflix on December 31, 2021, giving introverts everywhere the perfect excuse to stay in on New Year's Eve.

Who's in the cast of The Lost Daughter?

Maggie Gyllenhaal may be staying behind the camera for "The Lost Daughter," but she's collected an A-list cast to fill the screen. Academy Award winner Olivia Colman will play the main character Leda, a college professor and a divorced mother of two. Dakota Johnson ("Fifty Shades of Grey") plays Nina, a young mom whose family Leda becomes fixated on. 

Other actors slated to support Colman and Johnson include Jessie Buckley ("I'm Thinking of Ending Things") as a young Leda, Peter Sarsgaard ("Jackie") as Professor Hardy, Paul Mescal ("Normal People") as Will, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen ("The Invisible Man") as Toni. Ed Harris ("Westworld") and Dagmara Domińczyk ("Succession") also have roles in the film. The main cast will also include a child actress playing Elena, the young daughter of Nina and Toni. The role was likely given to a newcomer, as there was an open casting call last year for a girl between ages 3 and 5. 

What is the plot of The Lost Daughter?

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Maggie Gyllenhaal revealed that she first sought the rights to another one of Ferrante's books, "The Days of Abandonment," only to find they were already taken. When she read "The Lost Daughter," though, it felt like "some secret piece of my experience as a mother, as a lover, as a woman in the world was being spoken out loud for the first time." Apparently, she spent a month composing the letter to Ferrante to ask for rights, and the author said yes — as long as Gyllenhaal directed it. The two continued to exchange letters throughout production.

Gyllenhaal told Deadline, "I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theatre, with other people around. And I set to work on this adaptation. I find that the script has attracted other people interested in exploring these secret truths about motherhood, sexuality, femininity, desire. And I'm thrilled to continue my collaboration with such brave and exciting actors and filmmakers." 

The story focuses on Leda, who feels oddly at peace removed from the shackles of parenthood. As outlined in a Netflix press release, Leda becomes consumed with fellow mom Nina and her daughter Elena as she watches them on the beach, obsessing over them and their raucous extended family as she remembers her early motherhood days. An impulsive act draws Leda back into her own mind, where she must face the "unconventional choices she made as a young mother."