Loosely based on Henry James’ short novel of the same name, What Maisie Knew is the latest in a recent stream of deeply affecting films told from a child’s point of view. The title can be taken literally, as the film shows exactly what a precocious six-year-old girl sees as her two absent and self-obsessed parents (Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan) fight over her custody out of sheer hatred for one another. Some scenes are actually shot from Maisie’s height, with adults cut off at mid-torso. But the technique is used sparingly and helps draw us into Maisie’s uncertain world. Filmmaking partners Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End) avoid all the kid-movie clichés, instead developing an engaging character study for adults with a remarkable pint-sized figure (beautifully played by Onata Aprile) at its center. That works from just about any perspective.
What Maisie Knew begins an exclusive one-week run today at Chalmette Movies. More info here.