Review of “What Maisie Knew” by MyETVmedia:
What Maisie Knew, adapted from the Henry James novella of the same name, is a little gem of a film starring Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Alexander Skaarsgard and newcomer Onata Aprile. True to the novella, Co-Directors McGehee and David Siegel use the camera to give us seven year-old Maisie’s view of her dysfunctional parents in the midst of a torrid and destructive divorce. James’ novel was acclaimed for its profound insights and interior perspective of the child in the circumstance, and the transition from the page to the screen is successfully rendered with the help of a tightly crafted script set in modern day New York City by screenwriter Carroll Cartwright. Not since Kramer vs. Kramer has a film so capably explored a disastrous marriage and its consequences with such acuity.
That Henry James’ novels have been such fertile ground for filmmakers is no surprise. His themes and motifs are timeless, characters engaging, resonant and thoroughly modern. Of the dozens of screen adaptations of James’ novels since the 1930’s, Hollywood has most recently churned out Jane Campion’s Portrait of A Lady (1996), Agnieszka Holland’s Washington Square (1998), Iain Softley’s The Wings of the Dove (1998) and The Turn of the Screw (In A Dark Place, 2006). Each of these films pit a cynicism against innocence in circumstances with different but nonetheless intriguing results. This adaptation of What Maisie Knew is no exception.
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