The Strange Daughter is a 2021 drama film. It is dedicated to the story of a mother who went on vacation all alone.
The plot of the movie.
The film is based on a short story by Elena Ferrante. A rather melancholic picture with a non-linear narrative tells the story of Leda Caruso, a professor who came to Greece on vacation all alone. She moves into the house and begins to visit the beach, spending time with the same vacationers as herself. Leda tries to have fun, but not everything goes as smoothly as we would like. Either petty squabbles, then major quarrels, then heavy memories overshadow her vacation.
Leda comes into conflict with one of the families who came to the beach – she refuses to move her deck chair, although they insistently ask her to do so. So she meets Nina, a young mother. Leda always watches with great longing in her eyes her little daughter Elena, who plays with her favorite doll. Elena is a rather noisy and capricious girl, always bothering her mother, because of which she constantly feels tired and does not find the strength to play with her every free minute. Leda, watching them, involuntarily remembers her daughters and her youth, when she also could not cope with her children. Her husband hardly helped her, because of which she experienced certain difficulties with her work. She was a scientist, engaged in translations and wanted to further develop in this direction, but because of the children she did not have time for this at all.
One day, when everyone was on the beach, Elena disappeared, and Leda managed to find her, because she, unlike the others, was more calm. Because of this situation, friendly relations are established between Leda and Nina – they go through the same crisis, are in a similar situation.
Elena is naughty because her favorite doll is missing and no one can find her. The doll was stolen by Leda. She dresses her up, cleans her clothes, and sleeps with her like a baby, and keeps the secret so well that no one knows she was the one who stole the doll.
Constantly reflecting on her past, the professor rethinks all the decisions she made, regretting that she abandoned her daughters, that she did not spend enough time with them, deciding to pursue her career and went to her lover – a professor who completely understood her and admired her.
In Leda’s constant memories, a deep longing can be traced. She was unhappy when she was with children, but she did not become happy when she left her family.
Closely intertwining the past and the present, the author of the picture shows the woman’s different attitude to the same events, forcing her and the viewer to rethink what happened from different positions.
Nina finds herself in exactly the same situation as Leda, and desperately seeks her support and advice, and the woman opens up to her, saying that this phase of fatigue from family life and children will not pass.
The climax of the film comes when Leda returns Elena’s doll to her mother, and Nina, filled with anger, accidentally sticks a hairpin into her, damaging her internal organs. Leda leaves, passes out on the beach and calls her daughters, deciding to talk to them before she dies.
The meaning of the film.
This picture makes you plunge into the brain of another person, fully know the essence of his thinking, actions and decisions made in a given situation. She is imbued with despair, melancholy and melancholy, a constant search for herself and the logic of her own actions.
Leda is a person who never managed to find himself in life. All her decisions, one way or another, did not lead her to the happiness she longed for. Neither science, nor literature, nor translations, nor an affair with a professor who seemed to have pulled her out of the abyss of routine and despair, nor an escape from her daughters, nor a return to them.
In Nina, she sees her past self – that girl who, tired of the constant noise of her daughters, the indifference of her husband and escapes from reality to her beloved professor (exactly the same as Nina ran away to her lover), did not find the peace and happiness that she longed for .
Leda obviously stole the doll because she saw in it children whom she could not love as she should, endure as a real, loving mother would, although she did everything in her power. The woman begins to take care of the doll as if it were a child, seeing perfectly that Elena, left without her favorite toy, suffers and infuriates her mother.
Leda in general quite often behaves strangely and impulsively, so it is rather difficult to fully understand her motives, but it is obvious that she has certain mental problems – the consequences of years spent in constant tension and throwing. Leda is not sure of the sincere love of her daughters, but very often talks about them to others and sincerely admires them in the conversations of others, recognizing the burden of responsibility of the consequences of her upbringing, which fell on the shoulders of both her daughters and herself.
“The Unknown Daughter” is a story that is interesting to watch from the point of view of psychology. It is perfect for those who want to reflect on the difficulties of parenting, motherly love and family life in general, because these topics are central to this picture.