If you simply came to see this film for Jenna Ortega, like I did, the results may not be worth the watch. On a tight line between right and wrong sits “Miller’s Girl”, a film about a high school student's innermost thoughts, and life.
A teacher in a rural high school in Tennessee takes a special interest in one of his students. When a creative writing assignment is given the results yield an uneasy and complex relationship between teacher and student.
Starring Jenna Ortega as Cairo Sweet and Martin Freeman as Johnathan Miller.
The movie is shot beautifully. Throughout the film, viewers get these whimsy shots of forests, fog, and writing that overall give the feeling of youth and playfulness. The film's credit scene shows the title surrounded in lace, setting this film off to a dainty start for the audience. Everything felt intentional throughout giving these scenes of ghostlike fog, and dreams of ethereal beings to play into this factor set from the beginning. Overall this film sells itself as whimsy southern charm in its cinematography, but differs heavily in plot.
This movie lacks substance. This film has a lot of words and speaking, but most of it is of no use to the plot. The film begins with a narrator discussing the emptiness of her life saying, “I am 18 and entirely unremarkable.” Yet someone finds her remarkable and starts this whole inappropriate relationship. The whole movie just seems to use language as a justification for a teenager and teacher having a relationship. Using the idea that she is so smart, and mature that justifies her age in this complex relationship, is overdone and gross. The film uses the work of Henry Miller to lay into this idea of utter intelligence for an 18-year-old girl, who is still in high school but yearns for more. It feels like unneeded substance to justify this relationship, you never truly get a sense of any of this character's inner workings.
Overall the movie felt like the plot was this delusional fantasy of a high schooler, that shouldn't have been seen as okay in any form. If the movie was about a college student, rather than a high school student, I could maybe see the film in another light. But given the material, and age group it’s set in, it just is another bad example of when adults should realize high schoolers are children.
I give “Miller’s Girl” a 3.5 out of 10.