What Maisie Knew

2012

Drama

170
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 87%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 7.5

Synopsis


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23.976 fps
1hr 39 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Monica Story 10 / 10

A heartbreaking gem of a movie. Loved it.

This movie is a little gem. I read the New York Times review that said it was "Brilliant" or whatever, and I don't know if I'd go that far, but it's definitely the best movie about divorce and child custody I've ever seen, and it's nothing like Kramer vs. Kramer. It's actually really sweet and real feeling, mostly because you really identify with the little girl Maisie. All the adult actors are great, and sometimes funny (Steve Coogan), but I especially loved Alexander Skarsgard. He seems like a loser when you first see him, but he ends up being super loving, and his scenes with Maisie are really fun to watch. Haters are going to hate, but I think anyone would relate to this film about parents, kids, and finding people to love.

Reviewed by David Ferguson (fergusontx@gmail.com) 7 / 10

She knows plenty

Greetings again from the darkness. An ultra-modern update of the 1897 Henry James novel introduces us to parents we know, but wish we didn't. Steve Coogan plays Beale, a self-absorbed art dealer. Julianne Moore plays Susanna, a self-absorbed rock star. OK, you and I may not know art dealers and rock stars, but we know self-absorbed types and we know they make terrible parents. So not only do we know it, but it's also what Maisie knows.

Five outstanding performances and strong work by co-directors Scott McGhee and David Siegel prevent this one from spinning off into the neverlands of melodramatic muck. Onata Aprile is a wonder as Maisie. She displays none of the typical "movie kid" precociousness. The movie (and James novel) are told from her point of view. We see the fragmented bits and pieces she experiences as her parents fight. Rather than a full story, we share her moments of late pick-ups, early drop-offs and forgotten trips.

Soon enough Beale and Susanna are divorced and the real wars begin. These despicable adults make little effort in hiding their hatred of each other from 6 year old Maisie. It becomes background noise to her life. Further proof of the epic narcissism from both, Beale soon marries Margot the nanny (played by Joanna Vanderham) and Susanna reacts by marrying Lincoln, a band gopher and bartender played by studly Alexander Skarsgard. The most startling moment of the movie occurs when Lincoln first begins playing with Maisie ... it's as if we had almost forgotten what it means to give your attention to a child.

This is not an easy film to watch ... at least if you understand that parenting means putting yourself second. The directors do a wonderful job of showing us how Maisie takes in moments and what memories she makes from these. The neglect and false moments of caring from her parents make her acceptance of the attention to her step-parents even more poignant. We can't help but hope things work out for this little girl and it's a reminder that childhood innocence cannot be recaptured once lost ... and it's worth hanging on to for as long as possible.

Reviewed by isachs 10 / 10

beautiful film and story

A gorgeous film that manages to convey the emotion of childhood at its more heart-wrenching. The central performance by Joanna Vanderham is absolutely extraordinary, and reminds me of some of the greatest child performances I've ever seen on film. As her parents, Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan make you feel like you are right in the middle of the tumult of family life. Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel have created a movie that feels like life, the vulnerability, the abruptness, the comedy, the joy.

With intimacy at times almost startling, this is one of the best adaptations of a novel by Henry James I've ever seen.

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