(aka Meet the Home Wreckers)
WHAT MAISIE KNEW is the cinematic adaptation of the 1897 Henry James novel, delivering a blunt, gut-wrenching tale of an acrimonious child custody battle, from the perspective of the couple’s seven year old daughter.
Set in current day Manhattan, the audience is invited to endure scene after painful scene, witnessing the unravelling of a dysfunctional family – and the damage that can be done by Maisie’s self-indulgent, narcissistic and neglectful parents. Not a dry eye in the house, this film manages to simultaneously be a cathartic session down at the shrink, for anyone who has divorced parents and has had to listen to the spouting, drivelling, damaging nonsense…
Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel have created a genuine portrait of a modern day car crash of this highly strung very broken home. With sheer perfection in the casting; exceptional child actress and newcomer, Onata Aprile who actually at the age of six, plays Maisie bringing a maturity that puts her parents’ antics to shame, alongside Julianne Moore (who incidentally had read the script before the directors) who brilliantly plays (the flawless actress, always) her hysterical, druggie ageing rock star mother and Steve Coogan, exquisite in his portrayal of her philandering and unreliable art-dealer father.
Maisie’s parents are consistently childish and bratty and truly revolting to watch, with Alexander Skarsgard and Joanna Vanderham (who blew me away with her impressive array of facial expressions) as the verging-on-sometimes-too-idyllic step-parents.
A poignant constant on-screen and familiar current day real-life sight; one of the only consistencies in Maise’s life – both parents have their mobile phone as a permanent ear fixture. (Inevitably, as soon as their quality legally allocated 10-day time slot commences with their uncomplaining, way too savvy, young daughter).
clip from the film on YOUTUBE: http://bit.ly/14VlHat