Julianne Moore and Onata Aprile in What Maisie Knew

What Maisie Knew

Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård

Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
May 2, 2013

Hard-partying rock star Susanna, played by a firecracker Julianne Moore, divorces Beale (Steve Coogan), a self-obsessed art dealer, each uniting only in the neglect of their six-year-old daughter, Maisie (the remarkable Onata Aprile). Would you believe this film is an update of an 1897 Henry James novel? Believe it. Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End), abetted by an astute scriptfrom Nancy Doyne and Carroll Cartwright, find something sadly timeless in a child torn apart in a custody battle that no one wins, least of all the child.

It's Maisie's resilience that earns our rooting interest. Aprile never stoops to the tricks of kid actors. Her feelings emerge naturally, notably in her funny and touching scenes with the effortlessly charming Alexander Skarsgård as Lincoln, the studly bartender Susanna marries on a whim. Or it might be spite, since Beale has run off with Margo (Joanna Vanderham), Maisie's pretty nanny. There are times, especially when Lincoln and Margo seem in danger of becoming idealized surrogates, that the film slips into fable. But the filmmakers take care not to sugarcoat the pain inflicted in the name of love. What Henry James knew 116 years ago stays sorrowfully relevant for the here and now.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “You Oughta Know”

    Alanis Morissette | 1995

    This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

    More Song Stories entries »