Film Review: What Maisie Knew

This films tells the story of a young girl who's parents divorce and what occurs in the aftermath. What I found interesting, is that the story echoes not just the themes of the films Wah Wah and Irreconcilable Differences, but also that they focus on what the child can see, and tell the film from their point of view.    

For such a film to work well, the actress/actor portraying the child has to be capable of essentially carrying the film on their shoulders, as that is where the audience, hopefully - has most of their attention focussed. In the films referenced above, Zac Fox/Nicholas Hoult and Drew Barrymore respectively, do a more than excellent job in that respect.

Onata Aprile who is portraying Maisie, does this in spades. 

Her almost constant fighting parents, portrayed by Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore, before, during and after the divorce proceedings, become more and more vicious, low and neglectful of their daughter. Ms Moore's character, bringing her daughter into the courthouse, for the custody hearing, "Tell them about that time he threw you" When Maisie looks surprised, she adds, "You don't remember that?"

Mr Coogan's father, on the other hand, is distant and the rare times he spends in his daughter is greetings, and aside from those, he is on the phone.
Both forget whose turn it is to pick up Maisie from school, who has her for the week - Mr Coogan's character goes to Italy during the week he has custody. But those are the least of what goes on.

He marries Maisie's young nanny - Margo (portrayed by Joanna Vanderham) and in retaliation, Ms Moore's character marries a young bartender, Lincoln (portrayed by Alexander Skarsgård).

This is a truly spectacularly well made film but with a small warning, its not for the faint hearted.

!POSSIBLE SPOILERS! (For True Blood - fine if you've seen past Season Four)
Margo and Lincoln, due to the growing negligence, become in sense surrogate parents. Mr Skarsgård, probably best known for his role as Eric Northman, is quite adorable. True Blood fans, imagine Eric when he loses his memory, and you will have a clear idea of what he is like in this film.


  1. This quote comes from another carefully filmed movie that kept on the focus on the person's experience.
    “Caitlin MacNamara: Now you'll get fat. And Dylan won't love you anymore.
    Vera Phillips: You're a bitch. It's the past Dylan loves. And you. He doesn't love me at all.
    Caitlin MacNamara When's William get back?
    Vera Phillips: I keep writing. No word.
    Caitlin MacNamara: Think he's dead?
    Vera Phillips: We're still getting his pay. The army wouldn't pay a dead man.
    Caitlin MacNamara: You'll have to stop singing.
    Vera Phillips: I'll sing if I want.
    Caitlin MacNamara: They won't let you. Not pregnant they won't.
    Vera Phillips: I can't do this. I can't. A mother, me, look at me!
    Caitlin MacNamara: Get rid of it then.
    Vera Phillips: It's William's.
    Caitlin MacNamara: Ah, you love him.
    Vera Phillips: I hate him. Oh, God, I hate him so much. Look what he's done to me.
    [Caitlin laughs hysterically]
    Vera Phillips: Don't laugh. Don't damn well laugh! I can't do this alone.
    Caitlin MacNamara: I'm here, aren't I?
    Vera Phillips: Let's go home, Caitlin.
    Caitlin MacNamara: I don't have a home.
    Vera Phillips: Wales, Caitlin!
    Caitlin MacNamara: Are you insane, woman?”


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