Alexander Skarsgård’s new film What Maisie Knew had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Friday, September 7, 2012 at the Roy Thomson Hall. It also showed the next day at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Reviews have been pouring in for the movie and we have them linked below for you below.
Ranked #9 out of ComingSoon.net’s Top 12 “Best of the Fest” – Aprile’s absolutely amazing to watch on screen but she also brought out the best in Moore as well as co-stars Steve Coogan, Alexander Skarsgard and Joanna Vanderham, another newcomer who shined under the direction of Siegel-McGehee. [comingsoon.net]
A superbly written, well acted and directed film, screenwriter Carroll Cartwright and cast members Alexander Skaarsgard, Julianne Moore and certainly Onata Aprile should be on the radar come Oscartime. [myetvmedia.com]
“A heartbreakingly perceptive illustration of the axiom that when parents get divorced, the ones most affected are the children, What Maisie Knew is a closely observed and deeply emotional drama in which a kind-hearted six-year-old girl only slowly begins to understand the complexity of her mother and father’s dysfunctional relationship. Guided by a superb cast — and a strong turn from newcomer Onata Aprile — the latest from directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End, Bee Season) wrings tears but does so with a great deal of tenderness and intelligence.” [Screen Daily]
“Tasteful melodrama benefits from uniformly strong performances” and “The closest thing to an innocent in all this aside from Maisie, Lincoln (Skarsgård) — a lanky Southerner whose body sometimes seems to fold inward on itself in deference to those around him — can’t help but befriend the girl, a development that (to a perhaps implausible degree) disturbs Susanna.” [Hollywood Reporter]
“Henry James’ 1897 novel about a child caught between two horribly unfit parents has been effortlessly updated to the present day and adapted to the screen in “What Maisie Knew.” Anchored by five strong performances, including a piercing turn by Onata Aprile in the 6-year-old title role, this beautifully observed drama essentially strikes the same sad note for 98 minutes, though with enough sensitivity and emotional variation to make the experience cumulatively heartrending rather than merely aggravating.” [Variety]
It was nothing but a gift to have Onata,” Siegel told EW.com. “We shot for seven weeks, and she was always amazing, ready to be there.” [ew.com]
With a brilliant cast and a great little leading lady that totally steals the show, this film by Scott McGehee and David Siegel adapts Henry James’ novel with tenderness and consideration. [flix.gr]
The official festival sleeper, “What Maisie Knew,” directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, is an engaging update on the Henry James novel about a remarkably well-behaved child caught between a pair of divorced and monstrously self-absorbed parents. [artinfo.com]
This is a solid drama with powerhouse acting, as you’d expect. [craveonline.com]
Onata Aprile is great as Maisie, especially when the arrival of Alexander Skarsgård as mum’s new bloke, Lincoln, allows her some time to act out. The chemistry between them is bumpy at first, then increasingly relaxed and playful, making the conclusion seem like a logical choice, rather than something spun from sugary necessity. [the Guardian]
“What Maisie Knew” is affecting and alarming and makes great use of its New York locations. [NYPost]
Seeing it (Cloud Atlas) first on Tuesday at the Toronto Film Festival — the first of five films I saw during the day — set the bar rather high and none of the other films I saw approached its ambition. The only one that came close was also the one that resembled it least: What Maisie Knew, directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. [Huffington Post]
Not since Shoot the Moon (1982) have I been witness to such an honest, strong film about this difficult subject(divorce)…I quite liked Skarsgard, so good on HBO’s True Blood, as the bartender Lincoln, who is a good friend to Maisie, even though she suspects he will not be around long. [awardscircuit.com]
Alexander Skarsgard and Joanna Vanderham are sympathetic as their new partners, who come together in caring more for Maisie than her own parents do — but the star of this show is Onata Aprile, just seven but wonderfully good as the wide-eyed, ever observant Maisie, increasingly wounded, turning in on herself. The film’s simple strategy of filming always from Maisie’s height whenever she is present works amazingly well, an object lesson in how point of view can be what matters most. [standard.co.uk]
I was as invested in Maisie as I’ve been in any character I’ve seen at this festival, not just as a cute kid, but as a fully formed person. It’s a rare and much appreciated thing. [NPR.org]
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. [theGlobeandMail]
The entire film is told from Maisie’s point of view, and boy, Siegel and McGehee found quite an amazing young star in Onata Aprile, who literally has to carry the movie but also brings the best out of the likes of Moore, whose character is very bitchy throughout the movie with very few saving graces, as well as Alexander Skarsgard’s Lincoln, her mother’s new boyfriend. [comingsoon.net]
But the hidden treasure only came with the very last film I saw – a little gem called What Maisie Knew. [BBC]
Far better was What Maisie Knew, directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, which updates Henry James’s novel of childhood neglect to modern-day Manhattan and stars Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan as the 6-year-old Maisie’s dysfunctional parents. Onata Aprile, who plays Maisie, is remarkably poised in the role. Said Alexander Skarsgard, who also appears in the film: “We, the adult actors, do all this research to find the essence of the character. Then I work with her and she’s so – alive.” [alaskadispatch.com]
MEMORABLE PERFORMANCES: Onata Aprile — She’s just seven years old, but this saucer-eyed pixie commands the screen like a seasoned acting vet in “What Maisie Knew,” a well-crafted tearjerker about a young girl in the middle of a bitter custody battle. Onata steals the show from adult leads Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Alexander Skarsgard with her quiet presence, powerfully conveying the bewilderment, yearning and sadness of a child surrounded by selfish adults. [Canadian Press]
Alexander Skarsgard can leave the fangs at home if he wants after his performance. What quite a few are calling his breakout role, was exactly that. Skarsgard’s ability to evoke tenderness in his character plays delightfully off Aprile’s stellar performance. Skarsgard, Aprile, and Vanderham do an excellent job of defining their characters, and are able to shift gears as the main conflict comes to a head. … A simple spotlight shined on stars Skarsgard and Aprile watching from the balcony. I have a feeling there’s going to be much brighter spotlights on those two and the rest of the cast and crew from what should be a very well received film. [Showwatcher/Mike Dean]
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