EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|WHAT MAISIE KNEW (directors: Scott McGehee/David Siegel; screenwriters: Nancy Doyne/Carroll Cartwright/based on the novel by Henry James; cinematographer: Giles Nuttgens; editor: Madeleine Gavin; music: Nick Urata; cast: Julianne Moore (Susanna), Steve Coogan (Beale), Alexander Skarsgard (Lincoln), Joanna Vanderham (Margo), Onata Aprile (Maisie); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: R; producers: William Teitler/Charles Weinstock/Daniela Taplin Lundberg/Daniel Crown; Millennium Entertainment; 2012)|
|"A wonderful modernized
re-telling of the 1897 Henry James short story."
by Dennis Schwartz
A wonderful modernized
re-telling of the 1897 Henry James short story. It's
crisply written by Nancy Doyne and Carroll Cartwright
and earnestly co-directed by regular collaborators
Scott McGehee and David Siegel ("Uncertainty"/"The Bee
Season"/"Suture"). The key player is Onata Aprile, who plays the
precious neglected six-year-old Maisie. Though all the
performances are excellent, it's her sterling
naturalistic performance that makes the psycho-drama
work so effortlessly. The street savvy Maisie's
wealthy narcissistic self-absorbed busy
career-orientated NYC townhouse residing unmarried
parents, Brit asshole art dealer father Beale (Steve
Coogan) and aging rock singer mom Susanna (Julianne
Moore), are involved in a bitter custody fight and get
shared custody of the child. The sweet perceptive child
is tormented as both parents try to win her over with
manipulative promises of real love but can't keep
their word, as they seem to always leave her in the
lurch over some business thing that pops up.
One can't help rooting for
the resilient child, who absorbs in several touching
scenes how she's shuffled off to stay with mom's new
hubby, a charming nice guy bartender, one of her
hangers-on, named Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard), someone she married
during an impulsive moment. Or she's shuffled off to
stay with her caring former nanny Margo (Joanna
Vanderham), who ran away with the egotistical Beadle
and married him. Lincoln and Margo eventually get
together when abandoned by their spouses, and the
strangers offer Maisie the real love she never gets
from her warped parents. What comes through is the
needless pain inflicted on such an adorable innocent,
who only wants to be loved and to return that love.
It's all viewed through
the eyes of the little girl, and serves as a heart
piercing timeless tale about a dysfunctional family.
Maisie allows us to see
that she is perceptive enough to know the difference
between pretend love and real affection--which
clarifies the meaning of the title.
REVIEWED ON 6/9/2013 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ