7.5/10
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91 user 171 critic

What Maisie Knew (2012)

R | | Drama | 3 May 2013 (USA)
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ON DISC
In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter custody battle.

Writers:

(screenplay by), (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Susanna
... Beale
... Lincoln
... Margo
... Maisie
Sadie Rae ... Zoe (as Sadie Rae Lee)
Jesse Stone Spadaccini ... Martin (as Jesse Spadaccini)
... Cecelia (as Diana Garcia Soto)
... Ms. Baine
... Ms. Fairchild-Tetenbaum
Paddy Croft ... Mrs. Wix
... Musician #1
... Holly
... Hostess
... Zoe's Mother
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Storyline

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]

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hold on with all your heart.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site |  »

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Release Date:

3 May 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Quel che sapeva Maisie  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,480, 5 May 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,065,000, 28 July 2013
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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the acclaimed novel by Henry James. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Susanna: Want to sleep with mommy tonight?
Maisie: Um hmm.
Susanna: In my bed?
Maisie: Um hmm.
Susanna: You promise not to kick me?
Maisie: I promise.
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Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Episode #10.26 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

S.O.S
Written by Austin Taylor Trado
Performed by Austin Taylor Trado
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User Reviews

 
She knows plenty
9 June 2013 | by See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. An ultra-modern update of the 1897 Henry James novel introduces us to parents we know, but wish we didn't. Steve Coogan plays Beale, a self-absorbed art dealer. Julianne Moore plays Susanna, a self-absorbed rock star. OK, you and I may not know art dealers and rock stars, but we know self-absorbed types and we know they make terrible parents. So not only do we know it, but it's also what Maisie knows.

Five outstanding performances and strong work by co-directors Scott McGhee and David Siegel prevent this one from spinning off into the neverlands of melodramatic muck. Onata Aprile is a wonder as Maisie. She displays none of the typical "movie kid" precociousness. The movie (and James novel) are told from her point of view. We see the fragmented bits and pieces she experiences as her parents fight. Rather than a full story, we share her moments of late pick-ups, early drop-offs and forgotten trips.

Soon enough Beale and Susanna are divorced and the real wars begin. These despicable adults make little effort in hiding their hatred of each other from 6 year old Maisie. It becomes background noise to her life. Further proof of the epic narcissism from both, Beale soon marries Margot the nanny (played by Joanna Vanderham) and Susanna reacts by marrying Lincoln, a band gopher and bartender played by studly Alexander Skarsgard. The most startling moment of the movie occurs when Lincoln first begins playing with Maisie ... it's as if we had almost forgotten what it means to give your attention to a child.

This is not an easy film to watch ... at least if you understand that parenting means putting yourself second. The directors do a wonderful job of showing us how Maisie takes in moments and what memories she makes from these. The neglect and false moments of caring from her parents make her acceptance of the attention to her step-parents even more poignant. We can't help but hope things work out for this little girl and it's a reminder that childhood innocence cannot be recaptured once lost ... and it's worth hanging on to for as long as possible.


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