One of my favorite things about Neflix is stumbling across amazing, little-known movies that I never would have encountered otherwise. Whenever I find myself with a couple of hours to kill, with bad weather outside and my husband away at kung fu practice, I make a big bowl of popcorn, pour a glass of white wine and take a chance on a movie that I’ve never heard of. Tonight it was What Maisie Knew, an adaptation of the Henry James novel which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012. It stars Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Alexander Skarsgard, so I’m not sure how it flew under my radar while it was winning rave reviews.
Onata Aprile turns in a remarkable performance as Maisie, a six year old girl at the centre of a bitter custody dispute. I can’t remember the last time I saw a child character so compellingly and completely developed in a movie. The story is told entirely from her point of view and is anchored in strong, heartrending performances and beautiful cinematography. This movie is a total tearjerker but never comes across as manipulative; instead it feels sincere and well worth the emotional investment. I won’t say too much about the plot because part of the impact of the movie is watching the events unfold alongside Maisie. You’ll just have to take my word that it is worth 100 minutes of your time on a winter evening.
Have you already seen What Maisie Knew? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it!