Lost Girls (2020)

Lost Girls
Director: Liz Garbus
Writer: Michael Werwie
Based on: Robert Kolker‘s book
Cast: Amy Ryan, Thomasin McKenzie, Gabriel Byrne, Lola Kirke, Oona Laurence, Dean Winters, Molly Brown, Miriam Shor, Ana Reeder, Grace Capeless, Reed Birney, Kevin Corrigan
Seen on: 13.5.2021

Content Note: whoremisia

Mari (Amy Ryan) is waiting at home with her two daughters Sherre (Thomasin McKenzie) and Sarra (Oona Laurence) for her oldest daughter Shannan to arrive. But she never comes. When she doesn’t here from Shannan for a few days, Mari tries to activate the police to search for her. But the officer (Dean Winters) shows little interest in the disappearance of a sex worker, despite the fact that they have a frantic 911 call from Shannan on record. But when they find four bodies close to the gated community where Shannan was last seen, things gather a little more momentum and Mari does everything she can to make sure that there actually is an investigation.

Lost Girls is based on a real case of a serial killer that hasn’t been solved yet (they make sure at the beginning that you know the case is unsolved). It’s usually not my kind of film, but I found myself in the mood for it. And it’s okay, but it didn’t surprise me that I didn’t really love it.

The film poster showing a close-up of Mari (Amy Ryan) and below her a car driving behind a girl running along a street in the dark.

If I hadn’t had quite a day (or a week, to be fair) and was looking for something that I didn’t need to engage that much with, just wanting to watch something to cool down, I probably never would have watched Lost Girls. I’m not into crime movies in general, and true crime stories always leave me a little vary (who profits off telling the story? Who does it help to tell it?). Given that Mari Gilbert (the real one) actually died not too long ago, as I found out at the end of the film, this variness increased.

That being said, Lost Girls did what I was looking for – gave me a film that I didn’t feel particularly engaged with and helped me power down. So, when I saw that the film left me a little cold, take it with a grain of salt. I wanted it to leave me cold after all.

Sarra (Oona Laurence), Kim (Lola Kirke) and Sherre (Thomasin McKenzie) at a vigil for their sisters.

The performances were fine, though the script doesn’t really do the cast many favors. McKenzie shows once again that she is a big talent, and Ryan plays her heart out. But I wasn’t very happy with the script and the direction that tried desperately to leave us all with a conviction of who the murderer was, despite having no real proof of it. That’s something you can do in a fictional story, but in a real story, it made me feel uncomfortable.

The film was also a little difficult with regards to sex work. In Kim (Lola Kirke) we do get a bit of a counterweight, and there are attempts to show the problems and precarity sex workers face, but the film never gets to a point where it sees human beings who happen to do sex work, but only Sex Workers!(tm).

Overall, I can see that people who are more into the genre itself, could be rather content with the film, but it left me shrugging.

Mari (Amy Ryan) and Lorraine (Miriam Shor) walking through the neighborhood where their daughtes disappeared.

Summarizing: okay.

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