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Lost Girls Review: A Mother’s Search For Her Murdered Daughter!

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Lost Girls(Netflix)

Starring Amy Ryan, Thomasin McKenzie,Gabriel Byrne

Directed  by  Liz Garbus

Rating: ** ½ (two and a half stars)

Much of this true-life harrowing story  of a distraught mother’s search for a daughter who goes missing  in Long Island,feels like documented  evidence  dipped and dried in pools  of dehydrated melodrama.

 The  plot  as it uncovers  the  death of several  young women buried  in  the hushed upperclass  wealth of Long Island,  has the potential to knock our socks off. Tragically , as the  law enforcement lets the  mother down, this film too is not a really worthy look-see at a crime that shook America in 2010 when a young  woman Shannan  Gilbert disappeared.

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The  cops’ antipathy apparently has to do with the missing girl being a sex worker. As a sardonic  cop says somewhere during the investigation that’s opened up by the persistent mother, “I’ve never seen  so much time being wasted on  a hooker’s murder.”

Right. Hookers are best buried and forgotten.

This means, in principle, that a woman who is  not socially  ‘up there’  deserves less justice than  if a girl had disappeared  from a  normal  workingclass  family.It is  a shocking moral discrepancy and one that, I’m afraid, this film seems  incapable of shouldering let alone resolving. What we see is a mother’s  relentless search for her daughter and how her  other two daughter  specially the teenager Sherry(Thomasin Mackenzie who was so memorable as the Jewish girl in Jojo  Rabbit)  come to terms with the  fact that their missing sister was earning her  bucks for ….well you you know the  word  that  rhymes with shucks.

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While  director Lis Garbus does a commendable job of throwing light on  an unpardonable crime cover-up, the treatment of the subject is often dry and pedantic.What could have been a haunting  experience for  viewers ends up as just  a reasonably stirring echo of a crime and reluctant  punishment that humanity must not forget.

 The  story deserved an epic treatment.All its gets is an emotionless sapped-out  drama where the tensions are entirely controlled by  the  principal actress Amy Ryan’s dramatic skills.Ms Ryan is just about adequate in bringing out the mother’s grief and determination. Admittedly it is not easy to feel any sympathy for a woman who lets her daughter earn though disrepute. No easy solution for life at the edges is provided in this drama of  blunt edges and sharp disappointments.

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PS. This morning I read about a priest who died in prison after being sentenced for life  for murdering model 60 eras  ago. When  is Netflix  doing this one?