Sunday, August 18, 2013

What Maisie Knew -- Movie Review (DVD)

Rating: ***1/2

Avid readers of my blog know I have a "thing" for Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood fame. So, pretty much any movie he stars in catches my attention. So I did a little research and looked up when What Maisie Knew was coming out (it passed right through the movie theaters). It got great reviews, so I figured putting down the $13 for the DVD would make a great evening of movie-watching. Down my money went and the DVD was popped into my trusty player. I already knew the storyline might be depressing, so I wasn't revved-up for some humorous foray into laughter land. Yes, readers this movie was a downer, but a really good downer (does that count?).

Our small child Maisie is trapped in the tug-of-war between her two extremely damaged parents. The movie is told from her point-of-view, which gives the sadness a greater palpability. The squabbling adults don't seem to notice this child or regard her like any normal parent should. But the "moment" of complete neglect comes when she is dropped off at her stepfather's restaurant, and her mother completely devoid of reality, fails to realize the man isn't working that night. She is then shuffled to a stranger's house and scared. If your heart doesn't just break for this child ... As a mother, I was absolutely astounded.

What Maisie knew actually delves into the deep emotions of flawed and damaged adults. As the mother cried and expressed her pain over the situation and the way she felt, I related (I just went through a divorce). Self-absorption, pain and neglect all swirl into a poignant movie where Julianne Moore gives one of her steady performances, and Alexander Skarsgard is so low key and sweet you want him to be your father, too. In fact, Mr. Skarsgard comes off so well you really do think he would make a terrific father in real life (he doesn't have kids). But it is the little girl whose stoic performance is authentic and beautifully done. It's a sad movie, but it's a great one worth seeing (if you're in the mood).

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