Thursday, August 13, 2015

Movie Review: "What Maisie Knew" (2013)

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Movie"What Maisie Knew"
Director: Scott McGehee & David Siegel
Year: 2013
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

A six year old girl Maisie (Onata Aprile) is caught in the middle of her parents separation and bitter custody battle. As her parents Susanna (Julianne Moore) and Beale (Steve Coogan) bicker, she takes comfort with each of her step parents Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgård) and Margo (Joanna Vanderham), who wind up watching her most of the time while her parents are involved in their respective careers. 

Want to know how not to raise your kids? Watch this movie, take 2 aspirin and call us in the morning.

When a movie cold starts in the middle of a full-fledged, heated argument between two people that carries on so loud, no one hears the pizza man coming, chances are, you're in for a dramatic bumpy ride. This is exactly what "What Maisie Knew" is. In its dramatic, chaotic bumpiness, we are introduced to the sweet, naive 6 year old named Maisie, played by Onata Aprile. Maisie is the product of two selfish parents who are more involved with their own lives than they are with hers. Atypical, she doesn't ever argue or cause problems for her parents, they are just so self-absorbed, they can't see the harm they are causing her.

This is a heart-wrenching story of two parents who hate each other. They are going through a bitter separation and a subsequent custody battle that has left their daughter caught in the middle. Aprile is adorable. She plays a little girl who loves her parents unconditionally despite them being insufferable pricks so brilliantly. All Maisie want to do is make each of her parents happy and never hurt their feelings and she's too young to understand she is being emotionally scarred. Julianne Moore plays Maisie's mom Susanna, who is a professional rocker and often has to go on tour, leaving her for long stretches of time. Susanna loves Maisie, but has emotional issues and is very self -centered. She is an unfit mother not just because of her lifestyle, but because of her actions and demeanor. Maisie's father Beale, played by Steve Coogan, isn't any better as a father. He is emotionally distant and is so wrapped up in his work that Maisie and everyone else comes second to it. Beale has left Susanna for Maisie's nanny Margo, played by Joanna Vanderham, who is a much younger, much more attractive woman. With her being Maisie's nanny, she has a preexisting connection to her and has strong feelings for her new step-daughter. In response to Beale, marrying a younger woman, Susanna married a younger man, a bartender named Lincoln, played by Alexander Skarsgård. As Susanna and Beale are busy with there careers, Lincoln and Margo become the primary caregivers in Maisie's life, more connected than her blood relatives. These two young people start to treat Maisie more like a daughter than either Susanna or Beale ever had. In the end, the film begs the question: if her parents are not willing to put their own feelings aside for the good of their daughter, what is best for Maisie?

Unbeknownst to us, this film is actually an adaptation of a book written in the late 1800's, but updated to fit our modern world. This isn't a movie everyone is going to love. In fact, some might hate it because of the subject matter alone. When push comes to shove, however, the story is simple enough, but the acting is exceptional enough to make it brilliant. Emotionally charged, heartbreaking, and yet perceptive enough to pick up on even the smallest nuances, "What Maisie Knew" feels like a story we have seen in real life, something to tangible to reality, we could see it playing out right in front of our eyes. Exceptional!

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

**Want to buy this movie from Amazon? Click here!!**

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