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The Lost Daughter Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

Maggie Gyllenhaal is no stranger to Hollywood. The acclaimed actress' parents both work in the film industry (via IMDb) and her brother is none other than Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal. On her own, however, Gyllenhaal is an extremely talented actress who boasts an impressive résumé of screen roles. After getting her start in independent films such as "Donnie Darko" and "Secretary," Gyllenhaal eventually went on to star in bigger blockbuster movies like "The Dark Knight" and gained recognition for her Oscar-nominated performance in "Crazy Heart." Elsewhere, she also starred as Eileen, a sex worker, in the HBO original television series, "The Deuce," which examines the porn and prostitution worlds of New York in the 1970s and '80s.

Now, Gyllenhaal is set to make her feature film directorial debut with "The Lost Daughter." The film, which is scheduled for a December release on Netflix (via IndieWire), is an adaptation of the novel by Elena Ferrante. In addition to directing it, Gyllenhaal also produced the film and wrote the screenplay adaptation herself.

Here's everything we know so far about the release date, cast, and plot of "The Lost Daughter."

When is The Lost Daughter's release date?

Audiences will have to wait a few more months before they can watch "The Lost Daughter." Netflix has slated the film for a limited release in theaters on December 17, with a wider streaming release set for December 31. As of now, no official trailer or promotional clips from the film have been released to the public.

The film was initially supposed to be shot in New Jersey due to the state's generous tax incentive, but the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into those plans (via IndieWire). As a result, director Maggie Gyllenhaal decided to alter the location and setting of the film so that it could be shot in Greece. Fortunately, the change worked out well for Gyllenhaal, who rewrote the film's lead character, Leda (Olivia Colman), to be a tourist visiting Greece. Apparently, it was while shooting the film that Gyllenhaal also came to the realization that she felt the most at home and invigorated while directing (via Vanity Fair).

Who is in the cast of The Lost Daughter?

Olivia Colman's body of work is incredibly well-rounded. She starred as Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Favourite" and played Anthony Hopkins' daughter in the Oscar-winning film "The Father," and is set to star in director Sam Mendes' next film "Empire of Light," which is a love story set in the 1980s on the South Coast of England. She leads "The Lost Daughter" as Leda, a woman alone on vacation.

The cast of the film also includes Dakota Johnson ("The Peanut Butter Falcon"), Peter Sarsgaard ("Shattered Glass"), Jessie Buckley ("I'm Thinking of Ending Things"), Ed Harris ("Apollo 13"), and Paul Mescal ("Normal People"). Johnson stars in "The Lost Daughter" as Nina, a young mother Leda notices on vacation, and she is primarily known for her turn as Anastasia Steele in the "50 Shades of Grey" film trilogy. Sarsgaard plays Professor Hardy in the film, but is probably most well-known for his roles in films like "Shattered Glass" and "Garden State." 

Buckley, who recently starred in Charlie Kaufman's Netflix film "I'm Thinking of Ending Things," plays a younger version of Colman's Leda in the film. Ed Harris, meanwhile, is a proven veteran in the acting world, having previously starred in well-known films like Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" and Peter Weir's "The Truman Show." Rounding out the film's cast is actor Paul Mescal, who — coming off his leading role last year in Hulu's "Normal People" — stars as a young man named Will in "The Lost Daughter." 

What is the plot of The Lost Daughter?

"The Lost Daughter" focuses on Leda (Olivia Colman), a woman on vacation in a seaside town who becomes entranced by watching a young woman (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter on the beach. Unnervingly intrigued by the duo (and the strange complexities of their extended family), their presence leads Leda to begin coming to grips with the unorthodox choices she made earlier in her life as a mother. The film follows her as she reflects on her intense memories of motherhood, while a spontaneous act further sends Leda spiraling into the complexities of her own mind — forcing her to confront some of her past decisions.

Colman told Vanity Fair that "all the stars aligned" for her to play Leda in "The Lost Daughter," with the actress noting that Gyllenhaal's role as the film's director just further fueled her excitement for the project. The film, meanwhile, certainly seems to fit very well with the kinds of projects that Gyllenhaal has been interested in bringing to life over the years. After all, her desire to tell human stories with emotionally raw, three-dimensional characters is a large part of what has always made Gyllenhaal such an appealing and talented artist.

"The Lost Daughter" will be available to stream on Netflix on December 31.