91 user 57 critic

Lost Girls (2020)

2:13 | Trailer
When Mari Gilbert's daughter disappears, police inaction drives her own investigation into the gated Long Island community where Shannan was last seen. Her search brings attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers.


Liz Garbus


Robert Kolker (book), Michael Werwie
71 ( 45)


Cast overview, first billed only:
Amy Ryan ... Mari Gilbert
Thomasin McKenzie ... Sherre Gilbert
Gabriel Byrne ... Richard Dormer
Lola Kirke ... Kim
Oona Laurence ... Sarra Gilbert
Dean Winters ... Dean Bostick
Molly Brown ... Missy
Miriam Shor ... Lorraine
Ana Reeder ... Lynn
Grace Capeless ... Amanda
Reed Birney ... Peter Hackett
Kevin Corrigan ... Joe Scalise
Jimi Stanton ... Officer Church
Matthew F. O'Connor ... Joe Brewer
Rosal Colon ... Selena Garcia
Learn more

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When Mari Gilbert's (Academy Award® nominee Amy Ryan) daughter disappears, police inaction drives her own investigation into the gated Long Island community where Shannan was last seen. Her search brings attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers Mari will not let the world forget. From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus, LOST GIRLS is inspired by true events detailed in Robert Kolker's "Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery." World premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The photos shown of the victims, are the actual real life victims. See more »


Richard Dormer: It's not your daughter, Mrs. Gilbert, which is why it's important that you don't talk to the media.
See more »

User Reviews

This movie brings back all the horrors of the Long Island Serial Killer
14 March 2020 | by eileen-guthrie555See all my reviews

I very rarely write a review on IMDB this is my second review, but I felt compelled to write one because of my familiarity with this story as a former Long Island resident and was very familiar with the area where their bodies were discovered. The Long Island Serial Killer (aka LISK) still remains unknown to the Suffolk County police. There have been many suspects over the years. John Bittrolff was one of those accused in these murders. He was arrested, tried and convicted of three of the murders of Rita Tangredi, Colleen McNamee and Sandra Costilla. He is serving two life sentences plus an additional 25 years in Fishkill, NY. DNA that was found on these girl's bodies is what convicted him of these murders.

Joseph Brewer was the last person to have seen Shannan Gilbert alive. He hired her as an escort from Craigslist on the night of her disappearance. Brewer said that shortly after Gilbert arrived at his residence, she began acting erratically and fled into the night. Gilbert was reportedly seen running through Oak Beach, pounding on the doors of homes in Brewer's neighborhood. Around this time, Gilbert called 9-1-1 saying that "they were trying to kill her". However, police did not find any evidence of wrongdoing, and Brewer was quickly cleared as a suspect.

Dr. Peter Hackett was one creepy dude in my opinion, and he lied to the police when he said he never made a phone call twice to Mari Gilbert when phone records showed that he did. Why lie about something like that, that could be easily identified? The marshy area where Shannan Gilbert's remains were found were behind Hackett's house and backyard. Mari Gilbert filed a wrongful death suit against Hackett in November 2012, claiming that he took Gilbert into his home that morning and administered drugs to her, facilitating her death. Later police revealed that Hackett had a history of inserting himself into, or exaggerating his role in, certain major events. Police also noted that Hackett's wife and two children were home on the night of Gilbert's disappearance. Police later ruled out Hackett as a suspect in the deaths of Gilbert and the other LISK victims.

Now, one of the more interesting "suspects" was James Burke, the former Suffolk County Police Chief claimed he was connected to the Long Island murders. In November 2016, Burke had been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, along with three years of supervised release, for beating a man who stole a duffel bag filled with sex toys and pornography from his vehicle. Burke had pleaded guilty in February 2016 to charges of a civil rights violation and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Gilbert's attorney said in December that one escort claimed that she had had "rough sex" with Burke during an Oak Beach party. Burke was reported to have blocked an FBI probe of the LISK case during his time as police chief. He has never been cleared as a "suspect."

The media has speculated about a profile of the killer, referred to by police as "Joe C" (unknown subject). According to the New York Times, it is most likely a white male in his mid-20s to mid-40s who is very familiar with the South Shore of Long Island and has access to burlap sacks, which he uses to hold the bodies for disposal. He may have a detailed knowledge of law enforcement techniques, and perhaps ties to law enforcement, which have thus far helped him avoid detection.

Shannan Gilbert's death was originally ruled as a drowning but due to the controversy about Gilbert's death, in September 2014, famed forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden agreed to conduct an independent autopsy of Gilbert's remains in hopes of determining a clear cause of death. Upon examination of Gilbert's remains, Baden found damage to her hyoid bone (the same bone in Jeffrey Epstein's case), suggesting that strangulation may have occurred. Baden also noted that her body was found face-up, which is not common for drowning victims. Despite this, her death is still officially listed by police as an accident.

The worse thing about these many deaths and bodies found was the lack of respond from the Suffolk County Police. Fourteen bodies were found and only 6 have been identified and because most of the victim minus the 24-month-old baby girl whose mother was identified as Jane Doe #3, were all prostitutes. Their bodies were dismembered and spread out along the south shore of Long Island because many had identifying marks such as scars from surgeries and tattoos. Because they lived a dangerous lifestyle their murders didn't matter to them and never took it seriously until Mari Gilbert came and made it important. She was unrelenting in her pursuit of justice for Shannan. Sadly, there are no happy endings in the Shannan and Mari Gilbert's stories. Mari was murdered by her youngest daughter Sarra, who suffered from schizophrenia and Shannan's murder remain unsolved.

The police didn't care enough to want to solve these brutal murders because they were prostitutes. I've seen enough real murder mysteries to know this is a pattern with most police. If a victim lived a dangerous lifestyle even runaways and were murdered, they probably deserved it and that just infuriates me.

This movie brings back all those horrors of the LISK into my mind. It was well acted by all involved but Amy Ryan was outstanding, and her performance brought out the quintessence of the real Mari Gilbert and her pursuit of justice for her oldest daughter Shannan. The actor who played Peter Haskell brought out his creepy vibe perfectly. He made my skin crawl just as the real man did.

EXCELLENT movie and I give it 9 out of ten. I would love to see a miniseries on the Long Island Serial Killer in the hopes of families who could identify the remains of the remaining 8 bodies.

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Release Date:

13 March 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery See more »

Filming Locations:

Oak Beach, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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