Review by: Mut Asheru
What Maise Knew, directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel , shows what a messy divorce is from the eyes of a six year old girl. The cute and talented Onata Aprile plays Maise with a panache that doesn’t seem possible for a child actor her age.
Maise is the unfortunate child of two parents that care more for themselves than the baby they created. She’s not mis-treated just mis-loved as she is shuffled between parents and ultimately it’s the step-parents that bond together to form her turtle shell of protective love for a time.
Julianne Moore is great at playing a beautiful mess and as Maise’s aging rocker mother Susanna she pulls off not-ready-for-motherhood-but-thinks-she-is rather nicely as she goes from loving mother to immature sometimes in the blink of an eye.
As Step-dad Lincoln, Alexander Skarsgard shines and slowly seeps deliciously into Maise’s world telling Susanna in the middle of an argument that she doesn’t deserve Maise.
We know what Maise is going through…but does she? Mom, Dad…divorce. Step-mom, Step-dad..Divorce. Step-mom and Step-dad together. Huh? It never really is made clear if Maise understands the mess that swirling about her. Watching the face of the young actress Aprile seems to be the only way to figure out if she’s hurting or upset in any way.
I still didn’t have an answer at the end. I’m sure that’s the appeal of this character driven piece.
Cast: Julianne Moore (Susanna), Steve Coogan (Beale), Alexander Skarsgard (Lincoln), Joanna Vanderham (Margo) and Onata Aprile (Maisie).
Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, written by Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne, and from the producers of The Kids Are All Right.