Friday, June 7 2013, 07:40 PM MDT
Movie Review: What Maisie Knew
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Directors: Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Starring: Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Alexander Skarsgard
Recommended To: Those searching for an interesting look at what it is like for a child to be caught in the middle of a custody battle between two undeserving parents.
Synopsis: Susanna (Julianne Moore), a fading rock star and Beale (Steve Coogan), an art dealer, watch their long-term relationship disintegrate into a vicious custody battle over their 7-year-old daughter Maisie (Onata Aprile).
Review: What Maisie Knew is a contemporary take on Henry James’ novel of the same name. It is a story about ego and misplaced worth. It’s about a little girl caught in between two terrible options. Moore and Coogan are fantastically unlikable in their roles. They strive for some sort of self-progression but never manage to swap out their one-note qualities for actual growth. The crowds around them change; the self-delusion always remains.
Were it not for the compassion of strangers Maisie would never know that proclamations of love aren’t nearly as warm as acts of kindness. Those strangers, Margo (Joanna Vanderham) and Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard), are the heart of the film as their characters abandon their naiveté and ignorance in an effort to save Maisie from the parents that should be protecting her.
What Maisie Knew is an emotionally draining experience. The performances are impressive, the direction subtle and beautiful and the cinematography appropriately sparse with the occasional ray of sunshine. There’s just that sliver of hope and sometimes that will have to do.
-Ryan Michael Painter