What Maisie Knew

This independent movie is based on a short story by Henry James, updated to a modern setting.  James’ astonishing insights on the effects of a troubled marriage on the couple’s 7-year-old daughter, though, remain intact.  Most of the movie is told from the point of view of the little girl;  When she comes home from school and sees her parents fighting, for example, she is less worried about what the argument is about than about where she is going to sleep that night (the parents, already separated, have a complicated joint custody arrangement).  If anything, this story of  self-absorbed, irresponsible parents is even more relevant today than when it was written.

Julianne Moore is excellent as the girl’s rock star mother, and Onata Aprile is remarkable as the old-before-her-years little girl.  Where do they find these kids?

Although parts of the movie are difficult to watch, there are moments of humor and grace, and a hopeful ending.  It would be a fascinating film for family viewing.

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