Ajyal Film Festival 2024

All Films

What Maisie Knew (What Maisie Knew)

Contemporary World Cinema

David Siegel, Scott McGehee / Feature Narrative / United States of America / 2012 / 95 min / Colour / HDCAM
In English / Arabic subtitles
Interests: Drama, Family
MENA Premiere


A century-old story by Henry James is given new life in this retelling set in modern-day New York City. When six-year-old Maisie’s rock’n’roll mother (Julianne Moore) and art-dealer father (Steve Coogan) divorce, both quickly move on to younger, attractive new partners. Dad takes up with the nanny (Joanna Vanderham), while Mom marries a handsome young bartender (Alexander Skarsgård). As Maisie is shuffled back and forth between Manhattan apartments, her awareness of the world around her grows – along with her understanding that her parents are careless and self-centred.We stay with Maisie throughout the film, with each scene unfolding from her perspective as she deftly navigates the complexities of the adult relationships around her. A beautifully melancholy portrait is drawn through Scott McGehee and David Siegel’s keenly observed direction and an unforgettable performance by young Ondata Aprile.

Official Film Website

About the Directors

Scott McGehee and David Siegel have co-written and co-directed four films: ‘Suture’ (1993); ‘The Deep End’ (2001); ‘Bee Season’ (2005); and ‘Uncertainty’ (2009). McGehee was born in 1962 in California, studied at Columbia University and planned to be an academic, while Siegel crossed America the other way: born in Brooklyn, he studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and was planning to become a painter. They met while in graduate school at Berkeley.


David Siegel, Scott McGehee
Nancy Doyne, Carroll Cartwright
Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Daniel Crown, William Teitler, Charles Weinstock
Madeleine Gavin
Nick Urata
Giles Nuttgens
Henry James
Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård, Onata Aprile, Joanna Vanderham, Steve Coogan

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