Peter Pan may remain a symbol of quirkiness, but never growing up has a dark side too. In her latest film, “The Lost Girls,” based on Laurie Fox’s novel of the same name, Italian writer and director Livia De Paolis depicts generations of women haunted by Never Never Land. At least she tries.
The main character is Wendy Darling Braverman, the granddaughter of the original Wendy (played by Vanessa Redgrave). Towards the beginning of the film, Young Wendy has an intoxicating night with Peter Pan at age 13. (Emily Carey plays teenage Wendy in flashback.) Though she promises Peter she won’t grow up, she eventually does, and she marries and has a daughter. from herself. The adult Wendy, played by De Paolis herself, must struggle to accept her life, including her non-magical husband and her resentful daughter.
Such a synopsis makes this film sound deceptively convincing. The mature Wendy, who should be an American, has a distinctive Italian accent. In addition, these characters do not talk like ordinary people. At one point, Wendy’s daughter, Berry, interrupts a stern fight with the line “Sayonara, Mama.”
Rather than laying the groundwork for Peter Pan’s role as an arguably antagonistic figure, this film is strangely horny for the magical boy (played by Louis Partridge). Act one climaxes when Young Wendy falls head over heels in love with Peter. Sure, he considers her a mother figure and had flirted with her mom and grandmother too, but he’s also a real catch.
“The Lost Girls” ostensibly has something to say about the female experience in JM Barrie’s classic, but it preserves the little meaning it provides for the ending. Those poor viewers who want to take in this Freudian story and its dialogue that rival “The Room” must brave a ridiculous scavenger hunt for crumbs.
The Lost Girls
Not judged. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. In theaters and for rent or sale on Amazon, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.