What Maisie Knew What Maisie Knew
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What Maisie Knew

What Maisie Knewis a 2012 American drama film written by Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel . It stars Julianne Moore , Alexander Skarsgård , Onata Aprile , Joanna Vanderham and Steve Coogan , and is a modern adaptation of Henry James ' 1897 novelWhat Maisie Knew. The film finds six-year-old Maisie in the middle of a custody battle between her neglectful parents and their new partners.

Cartwright and Doyne wrote the film's script in 1995 but the project languished in development hell until McGehee and Siegel were hired as directors. It was filmed in New York over seven weeks in 2011 with music scored by DeVotchKa 's Nick Urata. The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival , and was theatrically released on May 3, 2013, by Millennium Entertainment . It earned $2.7 million at the global box office and received positive reviews from critics.

Six-year-old Maisie ( Onata Aprile ) lives in a New York apartment with her parents, Susanna ( Julianne Moore ), a singer in a rock band, and Beale ( Steve Coogan ), an international art dealer. Susanna and Beale argue with each other viciously and constantly, often ignoring Maisie and leaving her in the care of their nanny, Margo ( Joanna Vanderham ). Maisie does not always understand her parents' actions, such as when Susanna hires a locksmith to change the lock on the apartment's front door to keep Beale out. When they decide to separate, both parents are granted joint custody of Maisie.

After the separation, Margo moves into Beale's apartment and they get married soon afterwards. In response to the marriage, Susanna impulsively marries Lincoln ( Alexander Skarsgård ), a bartender whom she barely knows. Maisie bonds with Lincoln, but Susanna quickly grows resentful of how much Maisie has warmed to him.

Although both Susanna and Beale think they deserve full custody, their desire to keep Maisie is primarily to spite the other, and they are quick to pawn her off onto the other parent when looking after her becomes inconvenient. Maisie's time is split between staying with each of her parents, but her primary caregivers become Lincoln and Margo as Susanna leaves on a tour and Beale disappears on business trips. With his relationship with Margo disintegrating, Beale eventually decides to move to the UK.

With Beale and Susanna gone, Margo, Lincoln and Maisie begin to spend time together. While Susanna is supposedly on tour, the three run into her in New York. After an angry confrontation in which Susanna accuses Lincoln and Margo of stealing Maisie from her, Lincoln declares their relationship over, telling Susanna that she does not deserve Maisie.

When Susanna suddenly leaves the city, Maisie once again ends up in Margo's care. Margo takes her to stay in her cousin's beach house. She invites Lincoln to visit, much to Maisie's delight, and Lincoln and Margo kiss. One night, Susanna stops by the beach house unannounced in her tour bus to pick Maisie up, but Maisie chooses to stay with Margo and Lincoln instead. After shouting at her, Susanna realizes that Maisie is scared of her and that it is in Maisie's best interests to stay behind.

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