What Maisie Knew, a wonderfully acted and brilliantly paced film I saw last night at Angelika.
It tells the story of a bitter divorce from the point of view of a young child. Divorce may not be that interesting a topic anymore, but the directors do such a great job of focusing on what some sociologists refer to as "microaggressions", the small, daily, covert meannesses that can occur in interaction. It is a very tightly focused film, and the little girl, who registers both comprehension and confusion, as well as dread and sadness, simultaneously and subtly, gave a wonderful, impressive, and painful performance.
What Maisie Knew zooms in on the narcissism of her two parents, who, while cloyingly cuddling her and proclaiming their love, abandon her over and over again. She seems so lost and so small in so many scenes. She is often left alone with strange adults, and her composure masks a haunting sense of sadness.
Added to the plot are the two new spouses of her parents, each who seem to see the way Maisie is neglected, and thankfully they provide some sense of safety for the little girl, which is some consolation.
I really felt affected by What Maisie Knew, and think it was a perfectly executed film.