First Hit: Extremely well-acted film about a young girl surviving her parent’s egos and righteousness.
The first scene is hearing Susanna (Julianne Moore) and Beale (Steve Coogan) fighting. The audience hears the cutting remarks, each person downgrading the others’, careers, parenting ability and egos.
Masie (Onata Aprile) sits in her room, listening – expressionless. You see that he’s heard it all before, again and again. Susanna is a “has been” rocker who is trying to find her career again. Beale is a businessman dealmaker and he’s trying to chase down a new deal down.
It is obvious their own career struggles affect their conversations with each other. Masie loves her parents and they profess their love for her. The time comes; Beale and Susanna get a divorce and unknown to everyone, except Beale and Margo (Joanna Vanderham), the current nanny, Beale gets custody of Masie and Margo moves in with Beale.
They quickly get married and the shocked, angry and upset Susanna decides to do one better, so she thinks by marrying a bartender named Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard) she hangs out with. She tries for custody again but her anger and lack of emotional stability keep her from getting Masie. All through the missed custody pickups and angry phone calls, Masie soldiers on with maturity and strength. It becomes clear that the two non-parents, Lincoln and Margo care more about Masie’s day to day welfare and their actions show it.
The scenes of New York, the locations of the apartments and the whole atmosphere of this film were very good and reflective of the characters and story.
Moore was very strong as the aging rock star and her drive to let nothing get in her way of coming back. Coogan as the more calming parent is good. Aprile is fantastic as Masie and I suspect that if she continues to act we’ll see more of her. Skargard is very good as the flunky bartender who has a heart of gold. Vanderham is genuinely wonderful as the nanny who is slowing beginning to see how she was being used. Nancy Doyne and Carroll Cartwright wrote a very strong and insightful screenplay. Scott McGehee and David Siegel co-directed this film with sensitivity and clarity – well edited.
Overall: Very good film.