WHAT MAISIE KNEW is a contemporary New York City re-visioning of the Henry James novel by the same name, written by Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne. It revolves around unwitting 7-year-old Maisie, caught in the middle of a custody battle between her mother Suzanna, an aging rock star, and her father, Beale, a major art dealer. In a race to win the court's advantage, Beale marries Maisie's nanny Margo, prompting Suzanna in turn to marry friend and local bartender, Lincoln. Both forced into a battle neither wishes to be a part of, Margo and Lincoln come to empathize with Maisie's position and over time with one another's. Teased by the notion of making their own surrogate family, the trio must either submit to the will of Maisie's parents or eventually face their wrath. Written by
Fortissimo Films [nl]
Working with 6-year-old actress Onata Aprile meant that the crew had to do most of the filming before her bedtime. However, during a scene that had to be filmed at night, Aprile fell asleep, and could not be woken up. The scene had to be shot two weeks later. See more »
I've read five previously posted reviews of this film and see no reason to repeat what they've already said. I agree, for the most part, with the positive ones. And I suspect the negative ones were written by people whose established taste in movies should have steered them away from seeing this one in the first place.
What I'll add is, I guess, a mostly personal perspective. I've found that I am lately much more drawn to smaller, more deeply felt movies than to bigger, slicker, higher-production-value ones. To "What Maisie Knew," for example, than to "The Great Gatsby." Even though both source novels share a similar interior aesthetic, the treatment in the former stays inside the characters, where James focused the original (thus causing one of the previous reviewers' comments to the effect that "nothing happens" in the movie), while the latter (possibly because of Luhrmann's well-established directorial predilections)stays resolutely focused on the exterior spectacle and barely skims the surface of Fitzgerald's deeply rendered characterizations.
If you like smaller, more closely observed and deeply felt films, you'll like this one.
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