What Maisie Knew: 'moving' update of Henry James classic
Heartbreaking adaptation stars Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and newcomer Onata Aprile
What you need to know
US drama What Maisie Knew opens at UK cinemas today. The film, from directing team Scott McGehee and David Siegel (Bee Season), is an adaptation of Henry James's 1897 novel set in present-day New York.
The story of a self-involved New York couple's divorce, bitter custody battle and emotional abuse is viewed through the eyes of their six-year-old daughter, Maisie.
Maisie's parents are played by Julianne Moore as fading rock star Susanna, and Steve Coogan as narcissistic art dealer Beale. Newcomer Onata Aprile plays Maisie.
What the critics like
This "moving character drama" skilfully modernises Henry James's source novel, says Anna Smith in Empire. Performances are strong and Aprile is a startling young talent.
This beautifully observed drama is "cumulatively heartrending", says Justin Chang in Variety. Aprile is remarkable as Maisie and manages to convey in every close-up the painful, premature knowledge described by the title.
This tense New York drama is almost unwatchably perceptive about dysfunctional families, and "it's acted with knife-sharp precision", says Cath Clarke in Time Out. A touching, heartbreaking film.
What they don't like
"For all its virtues the film is really Maisie Lite, simplified, de-ironised and with a soft centre," says Philip Horne in the Daily Telegraph. Yet it does give a sense of the luminous power of childhood innocence and should send readers back to James's extraordinary novel. ·