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What Maisie Knew (2013)

ID: 34837
Starring: Julianne Moore Alexander Skarsgard Onata Aprile Joanna Vanderham Steve Coogan
Director: Scott McGehee David Siegel
Category: Drama
Video: Widescreen 2.40:1
Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Length: 99 mins
Release Date: 2013-08-13
Rental: $ 4.00

>> Review It

With What Maisie Knew, filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End) invest a custody battle with thriller-like dimensions. Six-year-old Maisie (composed newcomer Onata Aprile) lives the good life in Manhattan, but her parents are going through the kind of ugly divorce that can scar a child for life. Her high-strung mother, Susanna (Julianne Moore in Savage Grace mode), is a chain-smoking rock star, and her father, Beale (Steve Coogan, drily cruel), is a big-shot art dealer with a cell phone permanently affixed to his ear. Just as Susanna is prepping for a U.S. tour, Beale is jetting off to his native London on business, and the competitiveness that fuels their careers transforms Maisie from an object of affection into a weapon of war. Fortunately, she has Margo (Joanna Vanderham), a compassionate nanny, to look after her, but when Beale and Margo marry, her world fractures further. Then, sweet bartender Lincoln (Alexander SkarsgÄrd in his finest performance to date) enters the scenario, and a decision that seems hasty and vindictive on her mother's part yields unexpected benefits. In setting Henry James's 1897 novel in the present, cowriters Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne have made significant changes to his text, but the central narrative stays the same. If the child's-eye view seems unique, what makes the story more unusual is that it offers counterpoint to cinematic horror stories about stepparents, from Cinderella to The Stepfather, but if the film ends on a grace note, Maisie's future remains an open question. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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