Millennium Entertainment via Everett Collection
There are some days when all you need a movie to be is light and cheerful, but then there are others when all you want to do is wallow in sadness for a little while and have a good cry. For times like those, you need a film that will rip your heart out. Our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for this week’s Bluesday Tuesday pick, What Maisie Knew, will do just that, and then probably stomp on it a few times for good measure.
The film chronicles the bitter and toxic custody battle between Susanna (Julianne Moore) and Beale (Steve Coogan), told from the perspective of their observant their 7 year-old daughter Maisie (Onata Aprile), who is starting to understand how selfish and immature her parents can be. Luckily, she has some support from her step-parents, her former live-in nanny Margo (Joanna Vanderham) and bartender Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard), who are just as much a pawn in this game as Maisie is. The film is an unflinchingly depressing look at the toll that such a dysfunctional relationship can have on a child, who the parents begin to treat more like a bargaining chip than an actual human being. The film also features a wonderfully harsh performance from Moore as the self-obsessed, slightly delusional mother.
However, What Maisie Knew is anchored by Aprile, whose Maisie doesn’t throw tantrums like her parents, but is instead quietly heartbreaking as she begins to process where she stands in her parents’ priorities. The ending is somewhat divisive, but whether you love it or hate it, the film will leave you completely devastated – which, sometimes, is exactly what you need.
What Maise Knew is available to stream instantly on Netflix.