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REVIEW | “Lost Girls”: an inspiring story that brings justice to the victims of the Long Island serial murders


Available for streaming on Netflix, true-crime drama “Lost Girls”, is a film based on Robert Kolker’s non-fiction book “Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery”. The film was first premiered on Jan. 28 at the Sundance Film Festival, and then released on Netflix on March 20. It was directed by award-winning producer and director Liz Garbus, and written by Michael Werwie.

The drama revolves around a single mother named Mari Gilbert (played by Amy Ryan), who resides in New York. When her daughter, Shannan Maria Gilbert, an escort, does not show up to dinner one night, Mari depends on law enforcement to find her missing daughter.  However, Mari quickly takes matters into her own hands after police investigators dismiss her; they are seemingly uninterested in helping her find Shannan. With the help of her remaining daughters, Sherre Gilbert (played by Thomasin McKenzie) and Sarra Gilbert (played by Oona Laurence), Mari embarks on a journey to find Shannan. Along the way, she ends up exposing a series of forgotten and unsolved murders in Long Island, in which all of the victims are also believed to be involved in the sex industry. Mari quickly links her daughter’s disappearance with these murders, and continues with her search. As she desperately tries to find answers about her daughter, she ends up uniting the families of these victims. Together, they advocate for their murdered daughters and sisters. 
Actress Amy Ryan’s portrayal of Mari Gilbert was inspiring. It was clear that she truly embodied the real-life Mari Gilbert throughout the film. She depicted the anger and disappointment that Mari felt while also highlighting the complexities of her character. In an interview, Ryan explained that prior to filming “Lost Girls”, she would watch footage of Mari in the news to perfectly replicate her mannerisms. Her hard work paid off as her performance in the film was definitely impressing. 
The film was ultimately an empowering story about a mother who went to great lengths for her daughter. “Lost Girls” brings justice to the victims of tragic murders, while also criticizing society’s sexist tendency to blame women in crimes. Although heartbreaking to watch, the film was truly remarkable. As a true-crime fan, I was extremely impressed with the way the film depicted the Gilbert family and all the other characters involved in this story. 

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