Watch What Maisie Knew
- 1 hr 33 min
What Maisie Knew is a modern-day adaptation of Henry James' 1897 novel of the same name. Set in New York City, it tells the story of young Maisie, the precocious daughter of Susanna, a rock singer, and Beale, an art dealer. Through the aftermath of her parents' ugly divorce, she is forced to confront how selfish and damaged adults can be. Maisie is played by Onata Aprile, who was six years old at the time of filming. Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan play her parents, who constantly neglect and misunderstand their keenly observant daughter. Beale remarries, and his new young wife is Maisie's former nanny, Margo, played by Joanna Vanderham. In order to prove she can provide an equally stable environment, Susanna arranges to marry a younger man, Lincoln, played by Alexander Skarsgard. Lincoln forms a close bond with Maisie. The film explores the difference between nature and nurture and whether it's possible to reconstruct and redefine what family means to you. The protagonist of What Maisie Knew is a young child, meaning the story reflects a unique view of the world. Even though it's a movie about a little girl, it is aimed at an adult audience and deals with adult issues. The two directors, Scott McGehee and David Siegel, aim to create a realistic depiction of divorce, where the child is caught in the middle and often used as a bargaining chip. Made for a budget of only $6 million, What Maisie Knew is produced by the independent studio Red Crown Productions. It was an official selection of the 2012 Toronto Film Festival. The tone of the film has been described as realistic melodrama, relying on performance and dialogue to convey the intimacy of the story. Ultimately, it shows that many children all over the world are in the same position as Maisie.