Divorce can be an ugly thing, especially for a child caught in the middle. In What Maisie Knew, one young girl navigates her parents’ bitter custody battle with innocence and charm. This contemporary version of Henry James’ classic novel highlights the toll that divorce and neglect can take on a child—and the life-affirming grace that a child can bring to a parent.
Six-year-old Maisie (Onata Aprile) is caught between a rock and a hard place. Neither her father, aging rock star Beale (Steve Coogan), nor her mother, contemporary art dealer Susanna (Julianne Moore), have ever cared about her well-being. Their custody battle is just one more fight for superiority in a divorce that has become a clash of wills. As Beale and Susanna raise the stakes for their daughter, Maisie must find a way to coexist or risk losing a parent. Lauded as giving “the most remarkable performance ever seen by a child this age,” Maisie shows that there’s light in even the darkest of situations.
Written for the screen by Nancy Doyle and Carroll Cartwright, and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, What Maisie Knew will see a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles on May 3, 2013 and May 17, 2013 respectively. This Millennium Films drama also stars Alexander Skarsgard and Joanna Vanderham. Rated R for some language.