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Frankfurt-Tipp Jahresgewinnspiel
Frankfurt-Tipp Guide 2020 - jetzt lesen
The Happiness of Big Things

The Happiness of Big Things

USA 2012 - mit Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgard, Onata Aprile, Joanna Vanderham, Steve Coogan ...

Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:


Originaltitel:What Maisie knew
Regie:Scott McGehee & David Siegel
Produktionsland:USA 2012
Laufzeit:Ca. 102 min.
FSK:From 12 years
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The rock icon Susanna (Julianne Moore) and the British art dealer Beale (Steve Coogan) have little left of the former happiness of their marriage. Beale spends most of his time in the office or abroad and as soon as he gets home, the rags fly between him and his spirited wife. The victim is their six-year-old daughter Maisie (Onata Aprile). Although her nanny Margo (Joanna Vanderham) tries to distract the child as much as she can, Maisie becomes more and more involved in the dispute. The situation escalates when the parents split up and a custody dispute breaks out. While Beale, who begins a relationship with Margo, has the better cards in court, Susanna tries to improve her chances of obtaining custody through a spontaneous marriage with bartender Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard). Maisie is pulled back and forth and only feels really happy when her parents leave her in the care of her new partners for professional reasons. With Lincoln and Margo, the girl experiences happiness and light-heartedness, which, however, cannot last long…

"The happiness of great things" is the adaptation of Henry James' novel "Maisie ". The story of the novel published in 1897 was moved to the New York of the present day and modernized elsewhere. The filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Siegel, who have been working together as a directing duo since the 1990s, have told a very sensitive family story from the perspective of a divorced child. In doing so, they largely do without the usual way of being affected by such stories and prefer to rely on reality, discreet irony and an honest character drawing.

The film profits immensely from this. The parents played by Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan could easily have degenerated into clichéd decals. But the script by Nancy Doyne and Carroll Cartwright and its excellent realization by the two directors show not only the character weaknesses of these characters, but also the great love for their child, which is pushed aside by too big egos and broken self-esteem. On the other side are Lincoln, wonderfully played by Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood"), and Margo, who, if they got together, would make the perfect parents for a child like Maisie. These characters and their development also protect the staging from any form of kitsch and clichés.

Even though the story is heading absolutely predictably towards its sentimental, but not exaggeratedly kitschy finale from a certain point in time, the film appears pleasantly unadjusted and unconventional. This is the best American independent cinema that finds the perfect balance between entertainment and aspiration, between humour and drama. But the big plus point, through which "The Happiness of Big Things" can also leave a lasting impression, is the young leading actress Onata Aprile, who delivers a really great performance with great talent and a refreshing naturalness beyond the exaggerated cuteness of many children. You can see how Maisie longs for harmony and how she slowly but surely threatens to lose her childlike lightheartedness because of her parents' quarrels. A great performance, which is in no way inferior to those of their adult co-stars.

"Das Glück der grossen Dinge" treats a not exactly nice topic in a very nice way and thus turns a divorce drama into a real feel-good movie, without diluting the topic itself or trivializing the consequences for children. Anyone who appreciates American arthouse cinema should not miss this very special family drama. Absolutely worth seeing!

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  • The Happiness of Big Things
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