The Lost Daughter Is Out On Disc, Actually

You might not think it, but Netflix's brilliant Awards season adaptation of Elena Ferrante's novel The Lost Daughter is actually available to own on physical media.  And I don't just mean an FYC disc.  It's commercially available on Blu-ray (and DVD) from Vertigo and Focus Filmes in Spain, under the title La Hija Oscura.  It's a totally legit, pressed disc; you can order it from or where ever.  But how is it?  Are there any extras?  Did they mess anything up?  Is it fully English friendly?  Why doesn't somebody post a full review of it with proper screenshots of it anywhere on the internet?  Somebody should make a site that...  Oh right.  Okay, fine.
I kid, because actually I was excited to order myself a copy as soon as I saw this existed, waters tested or not.  Just from Film Twitter, a little forum skimming and the podcasts I listen to, I kind of got the impression this is one of those Academy Award nominees that barely anybody actually watched.  The fact that it's actress Maggie Gyllenhaal's directorial debut surely warded off some potential viewers anticipating a self-indulgent vanity project, a la Sonny or The Brave.  And just being a woman-centric drama isn't going to be a strong pull for film bros expecting to roll their eyes at a bunch of weepy performances.  But you're in any part of that camp, oh no no no, you should see this ASAP.  It's so good.
Not only do I firmly believe Oliva Coleman and Jessie Buckley should've won their best Lead and Supporting Actress categories (West Side Story and The Eyes of Tammy Faye, seriously?) last year, it should've won Best frikkin' Picture.  I would've also accepted Drive My Car; but oh boy, this film sure isn't saddled with that film's sentimentality.  It's a darkly brilliant character study that savagely strips the romance away from parenting.  If I had to criticize it, I suppose the back and forth flashback structure feels a little floppy, but seriously, most filmmakers should live long enough to make a film half this powerful, yet alone strike such a nerve on their first outing.  Of course, the two stars carry a lot of that weight, and it certainly helps to have an impressive supporting cast including Ed Harris, Gyllenhaal's real life husband Peter Sarsgaard and a surprising turn from Dakota Johnson (don't let this trick you into giving Persuasion a shot, though... hoo boy).  But I can't imagine having to follow this one up.  I fully expect a big freshman flop, but who cares?  We already got The Lost Daughter.
2022 Netflix FYC DVD top; 2022 Focus BD bottom.
This is a modern film with a ready to use DCP, so there isn't much to worry about Vertigo screwing up in terms of picture.  As you'd expect, the blu's 1.66:1 pillar-boxed image matches Netflix's DVD pretty precisely, apart from the clarity boost that comes with being in HD.  It's sharper, but given the film's soft, handheld style, even that isn't too obvious until you really examine it.  The colors and gamma levels are the same.  The one nice fix is that the FYC disc was interlaced, which the blu happily isn't, so you do notice a considerable improvement in that second set of shots just because of that.  But otherwise it's a legit but subtle upgrade.  The fact that the blu makes the film commercially available at all is the real win.
But not the only win, mind you.  The blu also offers us the original English 5.1 track in lossless DTS-HD, which is a step up over the DVD, of course.  But on the other hand, there is an imperfection.  The blu also offers us a Spanish dub and optional Spanish subtitles, naturally.  But in two brief spots, there are also quick moments with burnt-in subtitles.  There is a single line of Greek dialogue early in the film [pictured above] and four or five later in the film, when Coleman is watching a movie.  Those lines are in English, but for whatever reason, Vertigo decided to cake those lines into the film, too.  For English viewers, we aren't missing anything at all (if you turn the English subtitles on the US DVD, it just says "[speaking in Greek]" for that line above).  But it's just slightly surprising/ distracting to have those couple lines of subtitles pop up on the screen for those two short moments.
There are no extras on either disc, by the way, apart from a couple of bonus trailers that pop up on the blu.  Netflix did make a couple little promo featurettes, so it would've been nice to see them slapped on here at least, or the actual Lost Daughter trailer.  But oh well.  I can't say I was actually expecting any special features here.  Honestly, I was convinced this would just be one of many streaming exclusives to whither on the Netflix vine, and I'm super pleased to now own this on blu at all.  And despite that little subtitle quirk, it's a perfectly fine, strong presentation.  I wish we could find similar imports for all the rest.

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