starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Jessie Buckley
screenplay by Maggie Gyllenhaal, based on the novel by Elena Ferrante
directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal
by Walter Chaw Leda (Jessie Buckley) is brilliant. She's translating Auden into Italian and, more than just translating, she's interpreting the work in a way that's exciting to other scholars. She so impresses a hotshot in the field, one Professor Hardy (Peter Sarsgaard), that he seduces her during a conference--or she seduces him, cheating on her milquetoast husband and two young daughters. She abandons all of them eventually. It's a decision that haunts her. At least it should, though she's not so sure it does. But that was a long time ago. Leda (Olivia Colman) is now 48, vacationing by herself on a tiny beachfront in Italy. These days, she's an English teacher of no particular renown looking for a small patch of ocean to float in, a small stretch of sand to lounge on, food when she's hungry, and a bed when she's tired. There's this other family, however, consisting of a young mother, Nina (Dakota Johnson), who's struggling with a difficult child and a husband, Toni (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who looks like bad news. Though maybe not as bad-news as Toni's sister, Callie (Dagmara Dominczyk), who, seven months pregnant, wants to take a swing at Leda when Leda refuses to give up her umbrella for Callie's birthday party. The cabana boy, Will (Paul Mescal), spots this and tells Leda he admires her for it but also warns her against doing it again. "Why?" she asks. "Because those are bad people." When she's walking home that afternoon, a large pine cone falls out of a tree and punches a small hole in Leda's back.