Based on a contemporary interpretation of the classic Henry James novel, and set in present day New York City, the story centres on Maisie, an unwitting six-year-old girl enmeshed in the bitter divorce of her mother, a rock and roll icon, and her father, a charming but distracted art dealer. Darkly comic and emotionally compelling, WHAT MAISIE KNEW is an evocative portrayal of the chaos and complexity of a modern marriage.
Amazing story. On a very tight budget, as I read. It seemed unreal how, though utterly mistreated partners, step-parents end up more fitting parents than the actual ones. Makes you think, not every onedeserves kids. Enjoyed all info from audio extras from the directors. It made me see how much personal leverage actors gave to it.
ByprisrobTOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 November 2013
I put off viewing this film for a long time thinking it would only show a child being exploited for the film. To my great surprise and delight, I found an endearing film, showing exactly what a child needs, love.
Maisie is a six year old living in a lovely apartment in Manhattan. Her parents, Susanna played by Julianne Moore, is a rock star, not a very convincing one in this film, however. Maisie's father, Beale, payed by Steve Coogan, is a businessman, who has no concept of what a father should be. Maisie becomes the pawn in these people's fights. Susanna loves her daughter, but lives such a narcissistic existence, she is not a good one. Divorce us inevitable, and Maisie is split between both parents. Each parent forgets to pick her up. Little Maisie in the middle is only looking for lve with no strings attached. Odonata Aprile plays Maisie and an exquisite performance she gives.
Maisie's nanny Margo, played by Joanna Vanderham, is a young woman who truly loves Maisie. Maisie's mother remarries to a very young bartender, named Lincoln, played by Alexander Skarsgard. Lincoln becomes Maisie's caregiver when Susanna goes in the road and he and Maisie develop a tender, sweet relationship. Some of the film is unrealistic, and limits the film's true meanings.
Maisie knows what she needs and wants. An adult who loves her unconditionally, and is there for her. She finds it, but not with her parents.
Set in contemporary Manhattan this impressive quietly understated film shows us the world of 6-year-old Maisie from her perspective as she observes the changes occurring in her family life. Her manipulative neurotic mother and distant narcissistic father are too wrapped up in their own selfish and separate worlds to give their daughter any meaningful attention. Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore are excellent as the two self-obsessed adults wilfully neglecting their daughter who silently plays in her room hearing their vicious arguments through the floorboards. After the inevitable divorce Maisie is further neglected as her parents appear to regard her as an inconvenience to their busy lives despite both demanding legal custody. Throughout this disturbing silent tragedy it is Maisie’s innocent resilience which shines through and Onata Aprile’s performance as the vulnerable child is magnificent. Despite the callous behaviour displayed by her parents there is an underlying optimism to the film as we see Maisie gradually bonding with two adults who show her kindness and affection. Although the film lacks any overt sentimentality there is no doubt that it packs a hard emotional punch. A highly recommended watch to any parent or prospective parent.
All six year old Maisie needs is love but her bickering parents played by Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan seem more concerned about their own welfare to realise it. Maisie played by Onata Aprile is brilliant in the role and is the pawn caught in the middle of their squabbles. All parents who divorce should take note of the powerful message in this excellent film , there are no special effects but the film doesn't need them - it's one of the best films I've seen in a long time.
A film that may take a bit of building but is well worth sticking with. Maisie is a beautiful young girl who's parted parents appear to see her as an inconvenience rather than a daughter. There are times they show love and affection but their careers clearly take first place,Maisie adores them both but is clearly feeling torn apart by them. The new partners of each parent soon get closer to Maise than they are,she is good as gold but simply must be confused by the handing over of her from one person to another,even at times like a hot potato. What the little girl need is love and stability and though she is easy to love,she clearly doesn't feel she belongs anywhere. The acting on all parts is very impressive with some good characters,the story builds and maybe the climax is obvious but it works well. Not a well known movie,but it really should be,it's a pity movies like this get ignored for so so ones that have been done loads. Seriously,give this a go. I'm not surprised many love it.
This is an exceptionally acted and written film, the premise of which is based on a book over a hundred years old. All of the story is told from Maisie's point of view so we aren't privy to all the details of the deteriorating relationship between her parents but we get to see that despite people trying to protect children in such situations, they see and understand much more than we'd like to think. This is at times hard to watch; Beale's (Coogan) and Suzanna (Moore) parenting skills are severely lacking making it difficult to like them, so it's lucky that the step-parents are there to help. Step father Lincoln (Skarsgard) gives us a different performance to what we're used to seeing with a charming but bumbling slacker while Margot (Vanderham) plays the step mum perfectly. The star of the movie, however, is Maisie herself played by Onata Aprile. I cannot recommend this movie enough; not one for you if you love street racing and explosions, but definitely thought provoking.
Exquisitely crafted, this movie, based on the novel of the same name, tells the tale of Maisie, whose selfish parents put themselves first at every opportunity. Julianne Moore portrays the spoilt bitch rock star perfectly and Steve Coogan does detached father to a tee.
The shining star, of course, is Onata Aprile, whose portrayal of Maisie is brilliant. This movie is poignant and moving and well worth watching as it reminds us all that what a child needs is not gifts, or toys, or trips or lack of rules, but true, abiding, unconditional, selfless love.
I will be purchasing the DVD after watching this on the plane.