The Lost Girls
There’s a lot of potential in the premise of The Lost Girls. Journeying through the lives of four different generations of the Darling women, the film explores candid themes that blur the lines of reality and fiction. Unfortunately, its biggest downfall is Wendy Darling Braverman, granddaughter of the original Wendy Darling and the main focus of this particular story. All the other Darling women have a lot of intricacy to their characters, with Ella Rae Smith’s Berry delivering a stunning performance, despite the clunkiness of the script. Director Livia de Paolis’s performance as Wendy, on the other hand, fails to sell any sort of endearing emotion.
This is especially distracting in a film that hinges on the narration of the main character. To begin with, narration itself is already a counter-intuitive form of storytelling here. However, the bland and stale delivery of Paolis further highlights the pitfalls of this technique. The script tries to salvage the scenes with references and quotes from the novel, but they sound out of place and throw off the flow of the dialogue.
Sometimes the film shows a glimpse of competence in its themes – there are the uncomfortable and intimate moments between characters of varying age gaps (of teenage Wendy and adult Hook, adult Wendy and teen Peter, and teen Peter and preteen Jane), which do a good job of showcasing the darker side to never growing up; another great example is the idea of losing loved ones to the clutches of fantasy and illusion. All these are interesting topics that are shackled by The Lost Girls’s inability to scratch deeper than just the surface, leaving audiences feeling dissatisfied.
Production-wise, it does its best to really hone in on the nostalgia factor. It begins with an establishing shot of London, focusing on landmarks associated with the story of Peter Pan, such as Big Ben. Crosscuts used to blur fantasy and reality are reminiscent of another adaptation of JM Barrie’s story, Peter and Wendy (2015), and there’s genuine effort to create magic out of nothing, using light shows and camera flares rather than CGI to create fantastical scenes, and flower-filled settings with high focus on the sky rather than elaborate backdrops. Unfortunately, these visuals don’t make up for the lacklustre protagonist and incomplete story.
The Lost Girls is released nationwide on 17th June 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Lost Girls here: