The new drama may star Susanna (Julianne Moore) and Beale (Steve Coogan) as a divorced couple in the midst of a messy custody battle, but Alex’s pivotal role as her new, much younger husband, Lincoln, has everyone talking. Critics aren’t raving about his chemistry with Julianne, though — they’re impressed by his interactions with the other women in the film, including little Maisie (Onata Aprile) and her on-screen nanny-turned-stepmom, Margo (Joanna Vanderham)
“The closest thing to an innocent in all this aside from Maisie, Lincoln — a lanky Southerner whose body sometimes seems to fold inward on itself in deference to those around him — can't help but befriend the girl, a development that (to a perhaps implausible degree) disturbs Susanna,” The Hollywood Reporter says.
And for The Guardian, the stepfather/stepdaughter relationship is what ties the film together. “The chemistry between them is bumpy at first, then increasingly relaxed and playful, making the conclusion seem like a logical choice, rather than something spun from sugary necessity.”
Variety also touches on the unlikely budding relationship between Lincoln and Margo, Maisie’s young stepmother, noting that the pair projects “enormous compassion, as well as basic common sense in their poignant determination to do right by the child.”
But at the end of the day, it’s all about Lincoln and Maisie.
“Moore is very good … and the other three adults do fine work as well — particularly Skarsgard, whose character takes time to come into focus, but does so in satisfying fashion in the end,” NPR says. “[Maisie] bends toward affection like a sunflower, and the first time Lincoln goes to walk her across the street and she instinctively offers her hand for him to hold, the very fact of her reaching toward an adult expecting to be cared for becomes the film's driving force.”
This dark but sweet drama was recently picked up by Millennium Entertainment, so hopefully you can catch Alex’s stellar performance in What Maisie Knew in theaters near you soon!