The Netflix production is based on a non-fiction book about a dramatic, real criminal case LOST GIRLS of a mother looking for her daughter. We’ll reveal in our review whether the film is convincing.
Mari addresses the public…
The plot summary
Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan) is a very busy woman: she barely keeps herself and her teenage daughters afloat with two jobs. But she holds on with all her might – she once had to give her firstborn Shannan (Sarah Wisser) to foster parents because she couldn’t care for her. Mari doesn’t want this to happen again and her younger children Sherre (Thomasin McKenzie) and Sarra (Oona Laurence) to be taken away from her. When Shannan doesn’t show up for a scheduled visit to her family one day, Mari’s alarm bells ring. But neither the police nor the closed and close-knit Long Island community where Shannan was last seen take Mari’s concerns seriously…
Movie meaning of ending
True crime has been the hottest thing in the media world for years now: What Eduard Zimmermann did in 1967 with “File Number XY” is currently being featured in headline-making HBO series (“The Unlucky Bringer: The Life and Death of Robert Durst”) ) , Netflix documentaries (“Amanda Knox”) , long Netflix docuseries, podcasts and series about podcasts. Retellings of real crimes in documentary form or through reenactments have become a piece of contemporary pop culture history. In this respect, it is surprising to now see a drama on Netflix that comes from documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus (producer of “What Happened, Miss Simone?”) and is based on a true crime – but is not true crime. Instead, “Lost Girls” is a classic feature film drama – although it is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by journalist Robert Kolker.
When Mari’s (Amy Ryan) daughter Shannan disappears without a trace, an entire city is thrown into turmoil.
Liz Garbus’ feature film directorial debut “Lost Girls” brings back memories to some extent of Ben Affleck’s feature film directorial debut “Gone Baby Gone.” Although Affleck’s film tells a fictional story that has parallels to real cases, both productions share the leading actress: In “Lost Girls”, as in “Gone Baby Gone”, Amy Ryan plays a single mother from a poor background who goes in search of her missing daughter. And both films show how a victim’s background can distort the public perception of a case. The most powerful, relevant scenes in Lost Girls also feature Amy Ryan as an overworked, desperate, exhausted mother struggling to keep herself together while being brushed off by the police. You can feel anger rising in her because she is labeled a problem mother because of her small bank account and her disheveled demeanor and the missing Shannan is directly condemned as a drug victim and a runaway. Garbus lets such scenes play out dryly and captures them in a distanced aesthetic, leaving the audience alone with their findings – she does not weaken the gravity of these moments by instilling the moral in us with cautionary kitsch.
Even outside of these scenes, Ryan impresses with a straightforward, agitated performance that skilfully fits into the washed-out, depressing imagery of Garbus and her cameraman Igor Martinovic. But no matter how atmospheric and reduced the film may begin, the reduced aesthetics and initially minimalist narrative approach diverge little by little. The optics and the deliberately dull sound mix, which suggests fatigue and trepidation, remain – but the condensed narrative gradually becomes a meandering, small-step narrative. Screenwriter Michael Werwie, who worked towards a subtle but powerful conclusion in his serial killer biopic “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile,” gets bogged down in a summary of the decisions, errors in judgment and intuitively found clues that made up the real case which this film is based on. A bit of corruption, a bit of grumpy “nobody wants to talk” village mentality, a bit of character drama and a bit of criticism of many men’s lazy image of women – all elements that a film like this can, and even has to, touch on. But as the running time progresses, “Lost Girls” lacks the critical acumen with which the film began, and the interweaving of these aspects becomes poor.
Conclusion: “Lost Girls” is an atmospheric drama with a troubled Amy Ryan in the lead role, which gradually degenerates into a two-dimensional, sparse film adaptation of real events.
“Lost Girls” is now available to stream on Netflix.