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 »
Lotus Petals 2
Written by David O'Brien and Shu Hong
Performed by David O'Brien and Shu Hong See more »
Better than the book
This is what I hope Henry James would have written, were he alive today. The book is tough sledding, late James when he was dictating his novels (due to tendinitis), and there was no holding him back. At least one Harvard professor called him "the greatest American novelist," but this work is deservedly minor.
The movie was perfect, in the top 1% of all I've seen. The style was the antithesis of James, radical "showing" instead of "telling."
I think the title should have been "What Maisie SAW," but that's too titillating. What she knew or felt only her future therapist will learn. We do have a hint though when her father throws her mother's flowers away, and M explains, "He was allergic."
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