The offspring of a hot-headed musician and an art dealer, little Maisie learns the hard way about how difficult divorce can be on a youngster as she is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter custody battle.
Some scenes are tinged with dark comedy; some are heartrending; and some fuse the two, as when Maisie comforts a tearful friend during a sleepover in Susanna's huge Manhattan townhouse, while the delinquent grown-ups indulge themselves downstairs.
The result is a film that deeply engages us on multiple levels. Not only do we wonder what Maisie knows and how she knows it, we want to get this seedling to a place where she won't have to be transplanted every day.
What Maisie Knew gives the audience a ground-eye view of its mesmerizing title character, a plucky, charismatic New Yorker who navigates downtown bars and building lobbies with the street savvy of a pro.