By the end of What Maisie Knew, what 6-year-old Maisie knows is the thing everyone in the theater has figured out in the first five minutes: This poor little girl has two of the most horrible movie parents since Faye Dunaway got her hands on a wire hanger.
They fight or are distracted so much that Maisie is often left to her own devices, making herself meals or scrounging for cash to pay for the pizza her parents ordered.
Her father, Beale (Steve Coogan), runs off with the nanny, Margo (Joanna Vanderham), and that’s just the first in an endless string of abandonments and other outrages. Susanna (Julianne Moore), Maisie’s rock-star mother, invites one of Maisie’s classmates over to stay the night, just to try to get the kid’s mom to say a few nice things about her in the impending divorce proceedings. Problem is, she schedules the sleepover for the same night as a booze-and-cigarette-filled hangout with her band and assorted hangers-on. The friend goes home sobbing in the middle of the night. This couple is poison to anyone with the misfortune to wander into their decaying orbit.
Continue reading the rest of my review over at NPR.
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