Washington Post

Maggie Gyllenhaal on adapting 'The Lost Daughter' and why she doesn't consider the ending ambiguous

(L-r) Cast members Peter Sarsgaard and Jessie Buckley and director Maggie Gyllenhaal during the filming of "The Lost Daughter." Foto: Yannis Drakoulidis/Netflix

While starring on HBO's "The Deuce," Maggie Gyllenhaal used to write "long essays" about why she believed certain scenes shouldn't be cut. She had always been fascinated by the editing process in film and television, something she was rarely involved in as an actress. She sought more creative control.

That is exactly what she achieved with her directorial feature debut, "The Lost Daughter," an adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel now streaming on Netflix. Gyllenhaal, who also wrote and produced the thriller, tweaked certain elements with the pseudonymous author's blessing; the story pulled from a Neapolitan novel now takes place in Greece, where a middle-aged, divorced professor, Leda (Olivia Colman), encounters Nina (Dakota Johnson), a young mother from Queens, while on vacation. Nina's daughter loses her doll at the beach, and the emotional fallout lasts days, exhausting Nina and reminding Leda of her own struggles early on in motherhood...

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