Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Movie Review - What Maisie Knew

Movie Title

What Maisie Knew

This movie is apparently a contemporary adaptation of Henry James'classic American novel written over 115 years ago . It centers around the titular character Maisie (Onata Aprile), a 6-7 year-old girl caught in the middle of a broken marriage between a burnt out NY rock-band lead, Susanna (Julianne Moore whom we recently saw in the Carrie remake) and Beale (Steve Coogan), a high-flying international businessman who is contantly travelling, who is also having an affair with the baby-sitter, Margo (Joanna Vanderham, whom I've not seen before but I thought she's very hot and looked a bit like a cross between 2 other hotties - Elisha Cuthbert and Kate Bosworth).
Expectedly, they separate and are in the midst of a custody battle for Maisie. Maisie is caught in the middle having to live with Susanna on certain days and with Beale on other days. It is when she goes over to Beale's that she discovers that Margo is now her step-mum.Meanwhile, Susanna has also acquired a new life-partner in bartender Lincoln (Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd whom I last saw in the dismal Battleship) who eventually ends up as her step-dad. Soon, we can see that Maisie actually spends more time with her step-parents than her biological ones as Susanna is constantly either away on her rock tours or partying while Beale would be globe-trotting, sometimes even for weeks. 

As Margo and Lincoln spend more time taking care of Maisie, they realize that to their partners, they were nothing more than tools for them to use. They soon grow to love each other as they spend more and more time with Maisie together as a family.Before the movie ends, Beale had decided that it was best for his business that he moved back to London and realized that bringing Maisie with him would not be good for her. Separately, Susanna comes to the painful realization that Maisie needed the parental love and attention that she could not give. So it would be better for Maisie to remain with Margo and Lincoln.In the end, the title, alluding to what Maisie (and now the audience as well) knew was actually who her 'real parents'  were. The ones who truly loved her unconditionally. 

The acting by all in this film is simply outstandingly brilliant. Despite having said that, there is one performance really stands out - Onata Aprile, who played Maisie. I am telling you now,this girl is one to watch. Her performance is probably the best performance from a child I have ever watched. The other one that I can think of is Haley Joel Osment (Anyone remember him? He made it big from the 6th Sense along with Bruce Willis - arguably, the only good movie ever from M. Night Shyamalan)Overall
This is a slow-burn kinda movie. You have to let yourself simmer in its creative juices before the goodness & beauty hits you. It's not a romantic movie for dating couples or a sad tear-jerker but rather a very real take on a slice of the reality of life.

Beautiful film. Watch it, if not for anything, then for Onata's grade A++ performance!

Rating: 7/10

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