Miller’s Girl – Smart and Unexpected Thriller

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miller's girl review

At first glance and from the trailers, Miller’s Girl looks like the same story that we’ve seen over and again. A student falls for a teacher, or older person in their life in a position of power over them. This type of story seems to be played out in society and it may have you asking – “aren’t we over that trope and those movies?” It seems odd that that type of movie would be coming to the screen in 2024. But, while the trailer merely hints at it, Miller’s Girl is anything but that simple. Yes, there is a relationship between a teacher and a student, but nothing like we’ve seen portrayed before and not based on real events like May December. Instead, the movie pulls you in, weaving a story that twists and turns along the way – challenging what you expected to happen and what the story is actually about.

Martin Freeman as Jonathan Miller and Jenna Ortega as Cairo Sweet in Miller’s Girl. Photo Credit: Zac Popik

The movie follows a student and talented author Cairo Sweet as she gets a seat in the classroom of noted author Jonathan Miller. From the instant they meet there seems to be some sort of chemistry between them. Miller, played by Martin Freeman (Black Panther, Sherlock, Lord of the Rings) is a married man but can’t help but notice Cairo’s talent as well as mysterious beauty. Cairo, who is played by Jenna Ortega (Wednesday, Scream), lives alone in a mansion as her parents travel the world and seemingly forget their talented daughter at home. Pulling on her darker roles, Ortega comes into the role of Cairo as almost an innocent fem fatale. With the encouragement of her friend Winnie (Gideon Adion), Cairo begins to seduce Mr. Miller with the hopes of losing her virginity to him. What begins as a simple flirtation quickly begins to spiral out of control and the consequences could be huge for everyone involved.

Gideon Adlon as Winnie and Jenna Ortega as Cairo Sweet in Miller’s Girl. Photo Credit: Zac Popik

While it may seem odd to see Freeman in a role like Jonathan Miller, it just shows the range he has continued to add to his work over the years. He’s gone from comedic to serious and everything in between. Does the role of Mr. Miller paint him in the role of a predator towards Cairo? Not at all, while his actions and choices may not be the best, he may end up being more of a victim overall.

As for Ortega, she continues to shine in the dark and complicated roles. She stands her own in more than one way against more veteran actors and shows just how much of a powerhouse she is and will be throughout her career. Much like Cairo, anyone underestimating Ortega may want to think again.

Miller’s Girls takes that overused trope of the student-teacher relationship and flips it on its head. It’s not exactly graphic, but there are some parts of well-written smut read aloud with a few sexual encounters throughout the movie. But on its surface – Miller’s Girl takes everything you expected it would be, and takes it in another direction. It takes the sexualization of a younger girl, as we see in movies like American Beauty, and twists it into something more dangerous – where the control isn’t really in the hands of the person in power. Instead, it gives Cairo the power and while she may not be a victim in this situation, she knows she has the power from the first step of the relationship and wields it deftly.

Martin Freeman as Jonathan Miller in Miller’s Girl. Photo Credit: Zac Popik

The movie is smart, and enthralling, and both main actors hold their own and add to their own body of work. The only bad thing about the movie is with a January release date, it most likely will be lost in the mass amounts of movies that will be released throughout the year and possibly looked over later. While not a conventional role for either actor, both shine as they face off in this movie that is somewhere between a thriller and a revenge love story.

Miller’s Girl is in theaters everywhere this weekend.

Overall Rating

Four and a half Star Review

About Miller’s Girl

Miller's Girl

A talented young writer (Jenna Ortega) embarks on a creative odyssey when her teacher (Martin Freeman) assigns a project that entangles them both in an increasingly complex web. As lines blur and their lives intertwine, professor and protégé must confront their darkest selves while straining to preserve their individual sense of purpose and the things they hold most dear.

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