Friday 28 March 2014

What Maisie Knew

What Masie Knew is a new film starring Steve Coogan and Juliane Moore, it is based on the book of the same name by Henry James, but updated from a 19th Century Story to a 21st Century story. Coogan and Moore play Beale and Susanna, both parents of a child called Masie, played by Onata Aprile. It needs to be said right now that Onata Aprile is the loveliest little girl and so sweet and brilliant that, unless you are devoid of paternal or maternal instincts entirely, you will find yourself tearing up during her performance at least once. You may even have to send a flood warning to your eye sockets if you are particularly sensitive.

The film is very simple, remarkably visceral and realistically. You should stop reading and watch it because nothing I can say will come close to the explosive emotional value of the film. The cast it superb and the script is airtight. Beale is an art dealer, very busy and has no time to spend with Masie, and doesn’t really give a shit about her but is very good at pretending he does. Susanna is a rock star, surrounded by men wanting to get up inside her as often as possible.


Masie has a nanny called Margot who is blonde, Scottish and beautiful, ingredients that basically lead to Susanna and Beale splitting like an iPhone screen on a pavement. Beale marries the lovely Margot to make sure he gets custody over Masie, which is done as nothing more than a ‘fuck you’ in the direction of Susanna, who in turn marries a young bartender called Lincoln. It’s pretty obvious from early on that the intention of the plot is to get the two young and attractive characters (Margot and Lincoln) together for a special kind of cuddle, and wouldn’t it be brilliant for Masie to go off with them and have her irresponsible parents abandon her with them?

It doesn’t take too long before Margot and Lincoln start to realise that their new significant others are utter bastards and through a few twists of fate end up exactly like you’d want, with Masie in their care. None of this really matters; Onata’s wee face, her ability to just ignore her parents craziness and deal with her life as it comes, her decision to stay with the nice people instead of the stupid ones will make you emotional and it’s going to melt that icy cage around your heart. For about fifteen minutes after I saw the film I wanted to have children… then I saw some real life ones screaming because they got the wrong kinds of crisps and infanticide seemed more appealing again.

I honestly give this film a heartfelt recommendation. It really should be a must have, but will probably get overlooked, which is super sad. Best film literary adaptation since Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet.

What Maisie Knew gets a 4/5, [★★★★☆]

Dave Roberts

What Maisie Knew at CeX

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