Lost Girls parents guide

Lost Girls Parent Guide

Streaming on Netflix: A deeply human story about a mother's desperate search for her missing daughter.

Overall C+

Mari Gilbert has a hard life, working multiple jobs to keep a roof over her two younger daughters' heads, with a little help from her eldest, Shannan. But when Shannan disappears, Mari goes looking, and learns more about her daughter than she ever wanted to know...

Release date March 13, 2020

Violence C
Sexual Content B-
Profanity D
Substance Use C+

Why is Lost Girls rated R? The MPAA rated Lost Girls R for language throughout.

Run Time: 95 minutes

Parent Movie Review

When her daughter Shannan (Sarah Wisser) goes missing, Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan) immediately starts pushing the police to investigate. As time goes by, the outlook starts looking worse and worse- until the police find four bodies dumped next to the Ocean Parkway in New York. With the help of her daughter Sherre (Thomasin McKenzie) and the families of some of the murdered girls, Mari drives Police Commissioner Richard Dorman (Gabriel Byrne) to run the kind of investigation he should have been running all along.

Based on the true story of the Long Island serial killer (who has yet to be officially identified), this is a movie with some seriously dark subject matter. It is, however, refreshing to see a movie about serial killers that is so thoroughly invested in the victims. This isn’t a police thriller, where some grizzled detective and his new partner interrogate creeps and walk down dark alleys with guns drawn. This is a tragedy about a woman whose family is coming apart at the seams, worsened by the disappearance and death of her daughter.

The film also brings attention to an interesting fact: serial killers tend to target sex workers. Women engaged in prostitution, especially on the street, are particularly vulnerable, and the social stigma against them and their occupation means that response from the community and the police can be brutally slow. Lost Girls really focuses on that pitiful response, forcing viewers to be aware of the consequences of that disinterest and lack of compassion for some of the most at-risk members of our communities.

Amy Ryan delivers powerfully in her performance as a tormented mother, battling both her own inadequacies and a system that seems completely uninterested in her daughter’s disappearance. Mari is a very compelling character, not despite her flaws, but because of them. Her (at times) abrasive determination and dedication make her absolutely fascinating to watch.

But, sadly, Lost Girls isn’t especially suitable for family viewing due primarily to its frequent profanity and mature subject matter. But for a movie about a serial killer who targets sex workers, there is remarkably little other content. There is no direct violence, sexual content, or drug use. That in itself is fairly unusual, even more so for a movie in this genre. If you can get past the profanity, there is a deeply human story with a pointed social commentary that makes this one of Netflix’s stronger offerings.

Directed by Liz Garbus. Starring Amy Ryan, RHomasin McKenzie, and Gabriel Byrne. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release March 13, 2020. Updated

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Lost Girls
Rating & Content Info

Why is Lost Girls rated R? Lost Girls is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout.

Violence: There are non-graphic references to murder and dead bodies. A mostly skeletonized body is shown.
Sexual Content: There are non-graphic references to prostitution. A scene includes women wearing revealing clothing dancing at a party.
Profanity: There are 24 uses of extreme profanity and ten uses of scatological cursing. There are also repeated uses of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are occasionally shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. There are references to, but no depictions of, drug use.

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Lost Girls Parents' Guide

When Shannan goes missing, Mari realizes how difficult it can be to get the police moving. What difficulties has this slow response time led to in real life? What do you think could be done to better protect vulnerable women in our society? What advantages did Dr. Hackett have during the investigation?

In both Canada and the United states, there is an ongoing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Between 1980 and 2012 in Canada, these women represent 16% of all female homicides, but only 4% of the population. By 2015, they represented 24% of such homicides. What is being done to address this? What do you think should be done? How do we, as a society, react to this issue? What does that say about us and our values?


Home Video

The most recent home video release of Lost Girls movie is March 13, 2020. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

When his 16 year old daughter doesn’t return home, David Kim works with the police to track her down in Searching.

In Taken, another father, this time played by Liam Neeson, tries to rescue his daughter after she’s been sold into the sex slave trade.

A woman disappears in A Simple Favor, but things aren’t as simple as they appear on the surface.