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A scene from "What Maisie Knew"

3 out of 4 stars

Title
What Maisie Knew
Directed by
Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Starring
Alexander Skarsgard, Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan
Genre
Drama

You needn't have read the book, written by Henry James in 1897, to find What Maisie Knew familiar. An intricate, impressionistic tale of divorce, custody and other upper-classy problems, it is Nora Ephron-level relatable. It's also told by a child. As little Maisie Beale, eight-year-old Onata Aprile is the most precocious, precious foal of a girl since Mara Wilson in Miracle on 34th Street (1994). Her split parents are well-played by Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan, with Alexander Skarsgard and Johanna Vanderham as their respective new partners. Great acting makes the (perhaps intentionally) humdrum script sing. And for those who have read the book, this contemporary adaptation of a once avant-garde story feels exactly right.

Sunday, September 16, 3:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

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