Indie Movie Spotlight: Frances Ha / What Maisie Knew
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Frances Ha

Frances (Greta Gerwig) is a quirky 27-year-old hipster who lives with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) in Brooklyn. Without warning, Sophie moves into her dream apartment in Tribeca with another girlfriend and Frances suddenly finds herself out on the street. Now she has to find a new place to live and re-examine her place in the world, since few of her lofty ambitions are likely to come to fruition.

Filmed in black-and-white, Frances Ha is directed by Noah Baumbach (Kicking and Screaming, The Squid and the Whale) and written by Baumbach and Gerwig. The film plays out like a Woody Allen-inspired episode of HBO’s Girls, without the awkward nudity but plenty of hipster cliches. Previously, Gerwig starred in Baumbach’s 2010 film Greenberg, and you may recognize her from films like Hannah Takes the Stairs, House of the Devil, Arthur, and No Strings Attached.

The film premiered at the 2012 Telluride Film Festival and has since screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and Edinburgh International Film Festival. IFC Films acquired North and Latin American rights to distribute Frances Ha, which is currently playing in select cities. You can visit the film’s official site for a full list of dates and cities where Frances Ha is screening and check out the trailer below.


What Maisie Knew

A contemporary reimagining of Henry James‘ novel, What Maisie Knew tells the story of a little girl’s struggle for grace in the midst of her parents’ bitter custody battle. Told through the eyes of the title’s heroine, Maisie (Onata Aprile) navigates this ever-widening turmoil with a six-year-old’s innocence, charm, and generosity of spirit.

Julianne Moore stars as Susanna, an aging rock singer married to Beale (Steve Coogan), a contemporary art dealer. The two are too entangled in an epic war of personalities to notice their neglect and inadequacy as parents to Maisie, their 6-year-old daughter. As the fights and screaming matches escalate, the two seek a divorce and take on new partners, the ex-nanny Margo (Joanna Vanderham) and the much younger bartender Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgård).

Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, written by Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne, and from the producers of The Kids Are All Right, What Maisie Knew is a heartbreaking but redemptive story of family, self-sacrifice, and the indelibility of one child’s love. Coogan, Moore, Vanderham, and SkarsgÃ¥rd deliver terrific performances but it’s little Onata Aprile who carries the film on her tiny shoulders. It is rare to see such an excellent film about a child made for adults and Aprile is such a fully-formed little character that you’re able to completely invest it – it’s wonderful (and heartbreaking) to watch her navigate her parents’ childishness with grace.

Visit the film’s official website to find out when What Maisie Knew is playing near you and check out the trailer below.


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