Drawing from classic American literature but rooted in today's New York City, "What Maisie Knew" is an affecting portrait of a family coming apart, as seen from the vantage point of a six-year-old girl who watches the adults around her behave like children.
Susanna (Julianne Moore) is a pushy but seductive rock and roll icon married to Beale (Steve Coogan), a charming, distracted art dealer. Unnerved by the prospect of middle-aged stasis and drawn to other lovers, the couple eventually divorces. Maisie (Onata Aprile), their only child, is caught in the middle of it all, a flesh-and-blood bargaining tool who winds up being shuttled back and forth between her parents as they each attempt to start their lives afresh with new partners. Quietly precocious and a keen observer, Maisie begins to understand how essentially selfish, irresponsible and damaged her parents really are. With time their new relationships disintegrate as well, and Maisie is forced to consider whether or not she should try to construct for herself a whole new family altogether.