Colman’s Leda is a single, 48-year-old college professor on a working vacation in Italy, the country of her chosen academic discipline: She’s garnered acclaim as an English-Italian translator. While on vacation, she meets a large family of Italian Americans visiting extended family. Among them is Nina (Dakota Johnson in peak seems-like-she-could-hurt-someone form), a young mother with whom Leda feels a strange kinship. Nina’s toddler daughter, Elena, has a beloved doll which she carries everywhere; when the doll goes missing, the beachgoers are plunged into chaos—and Leda finds herself revisiting her difficult early years as a mother.
In adapting The Lost Daughter for the screen, Gyllenhaal leaves most of the story’s architecture intact; changing the characters from Italian to American (Colman’s Leda is English but now lives in New England) is perhaps her most significant alteration to the source material. Still, there are a few other meaningful differences between the book and the movie. IMDB