What Maisie Knew

2012

Drama

Synopsis


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23.976 fps
1hr 39 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Michael_Elliott 5 / 10

Unique Gem With Some of the Best Performances of the Year

What Maisie Knew (2012)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Excellent updating of the Henry James story about a divorcing couple (Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan) and the impact that their behavior has on their young daughter Maisie (Onata Aprile) as well as the new step parents (Alexander Skarsgard, Joanna Vanderham). WHAT MAISIE KNEW isn't going to appeal to a mass audience but it's certainly a terrific little gem from directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel. What I enjoyed the most was the unique way it told the story. We never get the "full" story of everything going on but instead we get the bits and pieces that a child would remember about something. Instead of finding out why a parent leaves her at school, we just see how the child remembers being left alone. Instead of knowing what the parents are fighting about, we see how it impacts the child and her memories of it. This is a very unique way to tell the story and it gives a touch of freshness to a storyline (divorce) that we've seen before. It also doesn't hurt that the film doesn't shy away from some rather ugly behavior from the parents and especially the Moore character. To say she's an unworthy mother would be an understatement but I appreciate the film playing things straight and not ever trying to make something cute. It also doesn't hurt that we get some of the best performances that you're going to see all year with Moore doing an excellent job in her role as the busy mother who doesn't have enough time for her daughter. This is a rather ugly role so it was brave for the actress to take it on. The same with Coogan who also plays a jerk and delivers with some strong work. Both Skarsgard and Vanderham really steal the film in the roles of the step parents who find themselves being forced to deal with something they never expected. Both of them should be remembered at Oscar time but we'll see how that goes. The same is true for Aprile who doesn't get too much dialogue but we constantly see her reactions to the things going on around here. This is such an excellent and quiet performance and something you'd see in a silent movie. WHAT MAISIE KNEW is about a pretty ugly subject matter but it's a fascinating look at it for those who enjoy great performances and a unique story.

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 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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