"Being John Malkovich" is a film about manipulation: John Malkovich's identity is compromised by the existence of a portal into his mind, wherein his actions and free will are compromised by Molly and Craig Schwartz. To complicate this situation further, both Molly, Craig, and John Malkovich himself are victims of the manipulations of Maxine, a woman who that uses that utilizes to sexual attraction all three characters have for her in order to obtain what she desires. Maxine herself does not appear to be subject to the manipulations of any other character in the movie. and therefore crtics may therefore be persuaded to consider Maxine the true puppet master in this movie.
Unlike Craig and Molly, Maxine never expressed any interest whatsoever in entering the supernatural portal into John Malkovich. In fact, her only intentions appear to involve exploiting the portal for money and obtaining sexual gratification from Craig and Molly-whichever happened to be inside of John Malkovich at any given time. The reason for this is that Maxine appears to be satisfied with her current situation in life and does not wish for fame (Craig) or to experience what it is like to be the opposite gender (Molly). The only time when Maxine appears to lose control occurs in the middle of the movie, when Craig pretends to be Molly while inside of John Malkovich. After she becomes aware of Craig's deceptions, Maxine is no longer interested in pursuing a relationship with Malkovich/Molly, but decides to stay with Malkovich/Craig instead. When she becomes aware that Craig can stay inside of Malkovich for an indefinite period of time, she praises Craig as a genius and expresses the belief that he could indeed become famous and they could subsist for the rest of their lives on Malkovich's accounts.
Maxine does not appear to desire fame, but then again she displays an obvious interest in Craig's talents as a puppeteer and the possibility that he may become famous one day. Maxine appears to have an obvious interest in money and wealth, but then again she could easily obtain all of the wealth she desires if she simply courted Malkovich alone, for the actor himself is as infatuated with Maxine as Craig and Molly. To complicate the situation further we may refer to Maxine's relationship with Molly: Maxine states that she is attracted to Molly, but only while Molly is inside of Malkovich's body and not her own. She is attracted to the "feminine longing" she can see inside of Malkovich's eyes while Molly is inside of him, but then again she could not recognize the difference between Craig/Malkovich and Molly/Malkovich. Furthermore, if gender is an issue, then why would she abandon Craig/Malkovich for Molly alone later in the movie when Molly/Malkovich's child comes into the picture? It seems as though if anyone is uncomfortable with her own gender and eminence in society, it would be Maxine herself; Her interest in wealth and money would seem to be a mask for longings more fundamental by comparison.