Thursday, March 19, 2020


Note: We're changing the focus on the films that Jill and I will be reviewing here on "The Noodle" for the time being. With movie theaters being shut down across the land, we'll be looking at some of the newest releases from Netflix, so you'll know what to watch--and what not to watch--at home during this unprecedented time of social distancing. And now you get to make your own popcorn!

Rated:  R

STARS: Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne, Reed Burney
DIRECTOR : Liz Garbus
GENRE: Drama/ Mystery-Suspense   

Mari Gilbert is a multi-faceted character, and Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan shows that she is fully capable of hitting on all those cylinders in the just released Lost Girls from Netflix. One by one, those layers are peeled back, revealing more and more details about Gilbert, and they are not flattering to her.

Gilbert's daughter, Shannan, went missing in the Long Island, New York area in 2010. Mari has two other young girls, and together the three of them are searching for answers. But as those layers are peeled back, it's revealed that Mari gave Shannan up to be raised by foster care when she couldn't control her. And later, as Shannan is revealed to be a prostitute, her mother doesn't question where the money is coming from when her daughter makes payments to her. Now, seemingly out of a sense of guilt and regret, mom becomes a take-no-bullshit crusader for the truth, It's a gritty, bravura performance from Ryan, and this is her film. 

The scenes where Mari Gilbert is going hard up against an apathetic male dominated police force that places different levels of value upon different types of human lives--and "prostitute" occupies the lowest rung with them--are the best.  

The interchanges between Ryan and Gabriel Byrne as Richard Dormer, the Suffolk County police commissioner, are the most intriguing. Dormer shows a reluctant but steady metamorphosis toward growing a pair as the validity of the evidence that Gilbert is presenting to him becomes overwhelming. 

Reed Burney adds a smarmy touch as a doctor who acts more like a mafioso than a medical professional--arrogant and condescending--and we're naturally going to think there's something fishy about him.

I want to say a word here about semantics and how they've been changed over time by political correctness. The words "prostitute" and "sex worker" are used interchangeably in Lost Girls, depending upon who is speaking. The men tend to say prostitute. The women tend to say sex worker. The term sex worker, however,  attempts to give the world's oldest profession a sense of legitimacy, as if we are now supposed to think of it in the same light as a regular office job.  

I don't like it.

It's got nothing to do with being male or female. It's about calling a spade a spade. Prostitution is a dangerous and ill-advised game, as this dark film so clearly points out. 

You may find the ending of Lost Girls to be unsatisfying, but it's only staying true to the facts of the non-fiction book by Robert Kolker the movie is based on. Over a dozen still unsolved murders of female prostitutes in the area have been attributed to the Long Island Serial Killer.

Grade:  B +


First, let me say that I'm sad not to be seeing movies in movie theaters. I'm a creature of habit and my TV's sound system leaves a lot to be desired. Still, I'm thrilled that Tim and I can continue opining via Netflix.

As gritty as Amy Ryan's performance was as a foul-mouthed (I liked that!), take-no-prisoners mom, I got tired of it after awhile. And I found it hard to believe she went from farming her manic depressive child out to foster homes to being a responsible mommy to her other two 'lost girls.'

I also felt the film went on too long. Granted, the story is worthy of telling. I used to live in Vancouver, BC where we had a famous prostitute-killer who fed the corpses to his pigs! (Robert Pickton) I realize the search for Shannan went on for a hellishly long time. For me, the movie did, too.

I loved the eerie use of the song "Beautiful Dreamer." (Kudos to music director Anne Nikitin). And the stark swampy settings added immeasurably to the darkness of the film. But what really got me was after the movie ended and we were given updates: "In July 2016, Mari's daughter Serra suffered a psychotic episode after going off medication for schizophrenia." -- "Mari tried to intervene and sustained fatal wounds."

Grade: C