Wednesday, February 12, 2014
What Maisie Knew (2012)
IMDb plot summary: In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter custody battle.
Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. Starring Onata Aprile, Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Alexander Skarsgård and Joanna Vanderham.
(Spoilers ahead about the ending.)
When I looked this up online after finishing it, I found it was based on a novel from 1897 (which was free on Kindle, so I downloaded it - whee!). I was surprised, because this story FELT so contemporary. But I guess human nature is what it really centers on, and that doesn't really change. I found this movie, at times, very hard to watch. Seeing her parents so selfishly use her as a pawn in their battle to "win" the divorce and demean the other parent was so uncomfortable. Thank God for Maisie's resilience as a character, otherwise I think I would have found it really unpleasant. I was impressed by how the movie ended, as I kept thinking throughout, "There's no way this can possibly end happily," but I think they found a way to make it work somewhat believably.
Overall, I liked this movie pretty well. It has... insight into realistic dialogue and how people interact with each other when they're bitter and angry. In lesser movies, that can border on the melodramatic, but here it hits just the right tone and it is uncomfortable and unpleasant, just like it would be in real life. It's an impressively well-written and well-acted movie.
(As a side thought, it is interesting that I am coming away from this remembering the unpleasant fighting more than I am the positive interactions... Not sure whether that's because I found them more interesting, or because it's reflecting my cynicism toward the happy ending really being that happy, or what.) 3.5 stars.
Flickchart: #696 out of 2024, below The Hunger Games and above Kung Fu Hustle.
Rent on Amazon for $3.99.