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What Maisie Knew is a contemporary New York City revisioning of the Henry James novel by the same name. It revolves around unwitting 7-year-old Maisie, caught in the middle of a custody battle between her mother Susanna, an aging rock star, and her father, Beale, a major art dealer. Written by
She knew who really loved her and who cared for her.
She knew who really loved her and who cared for her...
She also knew that mummy and daddy were too busy arguing to notice that the pizza guy had arrived. "What Maisie Knew" practically opens mid-tirade and Maisie, a wide-eyed six- year old girl has heard it all before, she skips innocently through their art-deco New York apartment, past her none-the-wiser parents, pulls out a fistful of dollar bills from her own piggy-bank and returns to the door to pay for the pizza.
"What Maisie Knew" is a re-visioning of the 19th-Century Henry James novel by the same name. The story follows Maisie, played by the captivating Onata Aprile , caught in the midst of a custody battle between her aging rock star mother Susanna and art-dealer father, Beale.
Susanna intensely played by the always-brilliant Julianne Moore and Beale (Steve Coogan) only unite in their neglect and emotional abandonment of little Maisie, and both of whom are not above using their daughter as a pawn in their war game.
As they battle on with the messy custody arrangements, Beale marries former nanny Margo (Joanna Vanderham), and in retaliation Susanna also remarries, to young bartender Lincoln, (Alexander Skargard).
As Maisie moves between her parents now separate lives, we unearth a natural connection between Maisie and Lincoln. You feel safe when he is around, even though he doesn't know what he is doing half the time and like Maisie, is out of his depth and unsure where he stands in Susanna's life.
Constantly, Susanna relies on Lincoln to pick Maisie up from school, drop her off, and spend time with her and improvise when necessary. But as the affectionate bond between her new husband and her daughter grows, Susanna becomes jealous of the relationship to the point of enforcing to Lincoln "you don't get a bonus for making her like you".
"You don't deserve her," Lincoln lashes out as Susanna breaks up with him, expressing exactly what the viewer has been thinking. But as another relationship in Maisie's life ends, it's her resilience that keeps us captivated and in awe of such a brave girl.
The story is told from Maisie's perspective including many shots even captured from Maisie's eye level so we get a fresh look at an unoriginal story. 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.
"What Masie knew" is a bleak film but hopeful, it demonstrates that innocence is not something to be wasted and used but cherished and protected. What Masie knew is to trust the people who actually take care of her - never voicing an allegiance against anyone but accepting love when it's offered
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