‘Miller’s Girl’ Review: Overwritten and Pretentious

Miller's Girl Review

As a medium for storytelling, cinema is not only able to deliver joyful experiences but can also convey intriguingly uncomfortable narratives. However, if done incorrectly, such films can easily end up being pathetically forgettable. Written and directed by Jade Halley Bartlett, Miller’s Girl explores a forbidden relationship. While the premise had potential, the final product is overwritten and pretentious due to a poor script and bland performances.

A bond between an English teacher and a talented student twists into something darker as they both cross the lines of appropriate behavior. The film is led by Martin Freeman and Jenna Ortega. They are supported by Dagmara Domińczyk, Bashir Salahuddin, and Gideon Adlon.

There is a scene in Miller’s Girl where Martin Freeman’s character, instead of reading an assignment on his laptop, decides to print it out instead. An act that is unnecessary and unrealistic, this moment is emblematic of the picture’s biggest flaws. Practically all of this movie’s dialogue seems to have been re-edited a thousand times, ending up as words that seem less poetic and more hollow. Furthermore, some lines are so laughable that they would be right at home in the diary of a sixteen-year-old girl. It doesn’t help matters that Jenna Ortega is painfully wooden in her performance.

A film like this lives and dies on the romance at the core of the narrative. If anything works, the relationship must thrive and be believable. Unfortunately, Freeman and Ortega’s characters have little chemistry and are not given sufficient development to make their taboo interactions impactful. The script wants us to believe that there is this fiery lust between them but fails to put in the effort required to make it a reality.

For a story about writers, this movie displays the art form in a horrible light, making them out to be out-of-touch and pompous. There was a beautiful opportunity for part of this film to be a celebration of writing, but it instead decided to offer a poorly constructed script alongside a horrendous depiction of the artists it depicts.

Miller’s Girl is so bad that you will often question if it is some elaborate parody of romance films. While 2024 already has some quality movies released, this feature is sadly one that is best forgotten.