Synopsis

Adapted from the Henry James’ novel of the same name, this moving drama shows us life through the eyes of a young girl who witnesses the implosion of her parents’ marriage, the fissures that appear in their subsequent relationships and the narcissism that lies at the heart of their every decision. Appearing in every scene, Onata Aprile is stunning as the irrepressible Maisie, as are Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore as her narcissistic parents.

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Director

David Siegel
Scott McGehee
David Siegel and Scott McGehee began making short films together in San Francisco in 1990. Since then, they have worked exclusively as a filmmaking team, co-directing five feature films to date. Their critically acclaimed debut Suture (1994) is a playful upending of genre expectations. The award-winning suspense thriller The Deep End (2001) was adapted from the 1947 Elizabeth Sanxay Holding novel ‘The Blank Wall’. 2009’s Uncertainty is an improvised exploration of chance and choice. Their films have screened at the Telluride, Toronto, Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, and won numerous awards. Their film Bee Season (2005) was written by Naomi Foner, and was followed by their adaptation of Henry James’ What Maisie Knew. David Siegel was born in Brooklyn, New York, but spent most of his youth in Southern California. He received a BA in Architecture at UC Berkeley before pursuing an MFA in Photography and Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. Scott McGehee was born and raised in Orange County, California. He received a BA in English from Columbia University, then went on to graduate studies in Film Theory and Japanese Film History at UC Berkeley’s Department of Rhetoric. They live and work in New York City. Directors’ statement: What Maisie Knew is built around a simple conceit: the singular perspective of a six-year-old girl at the centre of a turbulent story. We come to know each character through his or her interactions with Maisie. It’s an innocent and generous point of view, one that infuses the film with its lightness—a lightness that’s surprising, given the events that unfold. And it is this lightness that really drew us to the project. What Maisie Knew tells an emotional story about a tough situation, but manages to capture a spirit of hope and optimism - and even make us laugh. Yet it never succumbs to the sentimental. For all of Maisie’s innocence, her story has a natural, real-world truth. She’s got a simple, clear-eyed take on the world that captures a bit of what’s difficult alongside a bit of what’s funny and absurd. And a bit of what makes things work out okay from time to time. We’re excited, as well, by the formal challenges and opportunities in telling a young girl’s story. In expressing her point of view cinematically - not by means of dictating to the audience what Maisie might be feeling, but by catching a bit of what it might look and feel and sound like to be that little girl. To be a child searching for her own quiet voice in an otherwise noisy world. David Siegel and Scott McGehee

Cast

Julianne Moore: Susanna Alexander Skarsgård: Lincoln Onata Aprile: Maisie Joanna Vanderham: Margo Steve Coogan: Beale


Details

DVD catalogue number: CFW681DVD Blu-ray catalogue number: CFW088BD

Awards






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Out now on DVD, Blu-ray & on demand

GENRE: Drama

CERTIFICATE: 15

DIRECTOR: David Siegel, Scott McGehee

CAST:
Julianne Moore: Susanna
Alexander Skarsgård: Lincoln
Onata Aprile: Maisie
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DURATION: 99 Mins

COUNTRIES: USA

LANGUAGES: English

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Reviews


  • “A touching, heartbreaking film”

    Cath Clarke, Time Out


  • “Moving, hard-hitting and surprising”

    Anna Smith, Empire Magazine


  • “Handsomely shot and stopping just short of cloying sentiment, this is an accomplished, engaging work”

    David Gritten, The Telegraph


  • “Features an excellent performance from newcomer Onata Aprile”

    Henry Barnes, The Guardian


  • “Capturing the essence of the source novel, this is a superior adult drama. Harrowing, heartbreaking but utterly compelling”

    James Mottram, Total Film

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