Maggie Gillenhall’s masterpiece “Woman in the Dark” – based on a book by Elena Ferrante – is a must-watch for Olivia Coleman movie lovers and fans at the beginning of the year.
BERLIN – British Oscar winner Olivia Coleman (“The Favorite – Intrig and Madness”) is best known for her acting skills in the series “Flybag”, “The Crown” and in films such as “The Lobster” and “The Father”. A revelation.
She can now be seen on Netflix (since December 31) as a professor going through a mental crisis during her summer vacation in Greece.
“Woman in the Dark” (original film title: “The Lost Daughter”) is a complete successful parody of Maggie Gillenhall’s Elena Fernandez. The film ranks with Charlotte Rampling in the dark summer pictures of the Francois Ozone “swimming pool”.
Cracks in the perfect vacation setting
Leda Caruso, a British woman living in the USA as a professor of Italian literature, traveled alone and rented an apartment on the Greek island of Spetses to relax with a small job. The 48-year-old flirts with Will (Paul Messkel), a handsome Irish student working at a beach bar, and Lyle (Ed Harris), the caretaker of her holiday apartment.
Everything may be pretty, but there’s something wrong with the surface. Accordingly, the well-wrapped fruit in her apartment bowl will rot from the bottom, and there is a large, loud cicada that is disgusting on the pillow at night.
The arrival of an uncomfortably obscene and threatening Greco-American family disturbs the beach, and Leda likes to sit there and think. Leda notices the charming Nina (Dakota Johnson) from this family. She has a lot to do with her annoying little daughter. Leda seems to have identified herself in her over-the-top role as a mother. In the following, the professor becomes depressed, caring but meaningless.
Sensitive play from a woman’s point of view
The film jumps back and forth in flashbacks (Jesse Buckley plays the younger Leda) and gradually reveals what Leda and her daughters were and are doing. The psychogram of a woman in her late forties is remarkably well-designed, and she struggles with the roles and behaviors intended for her and is frustrated at it.
“Frau im Dunkeln” is a sensitive work from a woman’s perspective, in which men play a major role. The women’s play makes its directorial debut as actress Maggie Gillenhall (44, “Crazy Heart”, “The Dark Knight”), who portrays her husband Peter Sarsgaurd as Leda’s fascinating professor and seducer.
At the 2021 Festival in Venice, Gillenhall won the prize for best screenplay (Premio per la migliore sceneggiatura). The two-hour film is a remake of the 2006 novel of the same name, written by the best – selling mystery writer Elena Fernandez. Incidentally, in the original Italian novel – “La Figlia Oscura” – Leda is an English professor in Florence, and is on vacation on the Calabrian coast, where a family arrives from Naples. dpa
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