What Maisie Knew, an updated adapatation of the classic Henry James novel, looks to be one of the good ones. The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last week stars Julianne Moore as Maisie's slacker mom and aging rock star, Alexander Skarsgard as the step dad, and youngster, Onata Aprile as Maisie. Steve Coogan plays the girl's irresponsible dad, the art dealer Beale. Joanna Vonderham plays Margo, Maisie's nanny and, Beale's love interest
The film debuted at TIFF last September and is finally making its way to the states in limited release on April 26th.
I shared an earlier trailer here ; scroll down to see the newest version which looks awfully good to me. I honestly can't get over the little girl. She's a funny little thing and so natural and compelling. The next Dakota Fanning or Abigail Breslin? Despite what look like typically fine performances from Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard (based on my limited look at the trailer, but still ...) it looks like Onata really lights up the screen and steals the show. Fun to watch!
What Maisie Knew (1897) represents one of James's finest reflections on the rites of passage from wonder to knowledge, and the question of their finality. The child of violently divorced parents, Maisie Farange opens her eyes on a distinctly modern world. Mothers and fathers keep changing their partners and names, while she herself becomes the pretext for all sorts of adult sexual intrigue. In this classic tale of the death of childhood, there is a savage comedy that owes much to Dickens. But for his portrayal of the child's capacity for intelligent 'wonder', James summons all the subtlety he devotes elsewhere to his most celebrated adult protagonists. Neglected and exploited by everyone around her, Maisie inspires James to dwell with extraordinary acuteness on the things that may pass between adult and child.
The filmmakers put it a bit more cryptically on their IMDB page:
In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter divorce.
What Maisie Knew trailer 2:14 minutes
"Your Ex-Love is Dead" by Stars
That certainly is a timeless topic. Check out the trailer. Looks good, yes? The film comes from the producers of The Kids are Alright, a film I adored, with the directors (a duo) responsible for The Bee Season.