July 26, 2013

What Maisie Knew (2012)

What Maisie Knew (2012)
Directed by: Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Country: USA

Review: Set in contemporary New York City, “What Maisie Knew” is an American drama about childhood. Based on Henry James’ novel, the plot is centered on 7-year-old Maisie (Onata Aprile) who was caught in the separation process of her parents. Both want to win her custody, but this seems to be more of a whim than really a sincere intention. Her mother, Susanna (Julianne Moore), is an unstable rock singer who recently married Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard), a mere puppet in her hands, just to have a chance to keep Maisie around. Beale (Steve Coogan), the father, is an art dealer who is absent most of the time and started a relationship with Maisie’s nanny, Margo (Joanna Vanderham). The film consists basically in showing all these different people taking care of Maisie, who suffers in silence while she observes attentively their behaviors. Becoming a victim of her parents’ selfishness, Maisie will make her own choices to gain the stability she needs in her age. Filmmakers McGehee and Siegel adopted the same unagitated tone along the way, presenting a false sweetness that in some moments were hard to swallow. Sometimes the depth they intended didn’t quite work, hampered mostly due to encounters and relationships that seemed a bit strained along with its expected conclusions. Amongst all this mess involving parents and stepparents, “What Maisie Knew” shows some sensitivity and worth essentially due to the solid performances.

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