Lost Girls: Movie Review

"Lost Girls" has a lot of emotional baggage to give viewers especially providing some semblance of humanity to sex workers that society typically judges on a very negative light. But admittedly, "Lost Girls" is raw, rough, and needed a lot of work in its character development and pacing to truly become compelling.
When Shannan Gilbert failed to go home, her mother Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan) relentlessly pushes investigators and the police to search for her missing daughter. In the process of their search, bodies of several women who are sex workers are found near a gated community making Mari feel that the police is doing a cover up of the truth as a battle between sex workers versus the privileged ensues.
From the get go, "Lost Girls" tells viewers that it is an unsolved mystery and that alone sets you up knowing that the film will never have a happy ending. The film feels authentic to a tee never afraid of reflecting the ugliness of the crimes and the characters entangled within it - even to the detriment of how viewers will perceive the lead character of Mari Gilbert. For example, her character is a mess if we're being honest. She's an absent mom who gave away her daughter Shannan to foster care (her reasons are eventually touched upon briefly). She's also brash and in-your-face like a rabid dog towards other people. Her character was very hard to swallow what more to like. But the honesty to everything is the film's strongest point as you feel that there's never an opportunity of white-washing just to make the film more palatable to the masses. Unfortunately, the film is rough around the edges. Amy Ryan delivered a powerful performance as the tenacious yet flawed Mari but her acting felt lacking at times. There's also little character development outside Mari. For example, we never really understand the plight of her other daughters and there reasons of hating their mother. And there are problems with pacing. Scenes transition abruptly for example. Although these flaws actually don't defer the real message of the film - that we are all humans (with emotions, with family) at the end of it all regardless of our work or background and we should get the same treatment as anyone in society.
Rating: 3 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- has a very powerful message
- emotional and dramatic even with huge flaws

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- character development and pacing was rough and lacking
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