What Maisie Knew is a contemporary New York City revisioning of the Henry James novella by the same name. It revolves around unwitting 7-year-old Maisie, caught in the middle of a custody battle between her mother Susanna, an aging rock star, and her father, Beale, a major art dealer.
An aging rock star (Julianne Moore) and a contemporary art dealer (Steve Coogan) – Susanna and Beale – are too self-involved even to notice their neglect and inadequacy as parents; their fight for Maisie is just another battle in an epic war of personalities. As they raise the stakes by taking on inappropriate new partners, the ex-nanny Margo and the much younger bartender Lincoln (JoannaVanderham and Alexander Skarsgâˆšâ€¢rd), the shuffling of Maisie from household to household becomes more and more callous, the consequences more and more troubling. Always watchful, however, Maisie begins to understand that the path through this morass of adult childishness and selfish blindness will have to be of her own making.