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"What Maisie Knew" Film Review

Updated on January 3, 2015
Julianne Moore, Mother from Hell
Julianne Moore, Mother from Hell
Steve Coogan, Father from Hell
Steve Coogan, Father from Hell
Alexander Skarsgard & Onata Aprile
Alexander Skarsgard & Onata Aprile

"What Maisie Knew"

What Maisie Knew, based on Henry James's novel, with Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Onata Aprile as Maisie was well acted and directed, but it didn't measure up to Kramer vs. Kramer, with Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman, the all-time standard for divorce films.

Onata Aprile's performance as the child of the divorced couple was near-perfect. Julianne Moore was competent as usual but a bit over the top as Onata's monster, uptight, wannabe rock star career driven mother. Steve Coogan, Onata's father, a N. Y. art dealer, was more genial but equally neglectful of his young child. What Maisie Knew paints the characters much more in black and white than were Kramer vs. Kramer's Streep and Hoffman.

For me, the star of the show was Onata Aprile who's understated, knowing performance as a child abused horribly by her narcissistic parents, hit just the right notes throughout the film. The other two significant characters, Alexander Skarsgard and Joanna Vanderham, who were pawns in the spiteful game of Aprile's parents provided contrasting love and care for the young child of divorce. The movie was well done but hard to watch.

Rated: R


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    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment. "What Maisie Knew" was indeed well done.

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 4 years ago

      Thanks for that review. Although, I don't think I'd watch it - oddly enough because it seems as if it was very well done. That suggests it would be effective and - break my heart. That's not what I want in the movies.

      For me, I want escapism in the movie theater - glitz and comedy and dancing and laughter. And I guess that's why I don't go to the movies any more.

      Ah, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, Danny Kaye, Donald O'Conner, Vera Ellen - where did you go?! Bring back the movies, I say.