‘Miller’s Girl’ Review: Failed Marriage and Daddy Issues Collide

Jenna ortega in miller's girl

In her first ever feature film Miller’s Girl, upcoming director Jade Halley Bartlett tells a story about the debatable relationship between a school teacher and his 18 year old student, whose interest and knowledge of literature makes her stand out from others.

Struggling to find something worthy to write about for her Yale admission, Cairo writes a story inspired by the interrelationship between her and her teacher, followed by Miller’s threat of failing her due to the inappropriate essence of the essay. Hurt and disappointed, Cairo dares him to do so, and as a result, the two now have to testify against each other on a school board.

Despite the attempt to show the complexity of the relationship between the characters, the reasons for the mutual affection are incredibly simple – a teenage girl whose only outlet is literature and who is abandoned by her parents and a failed writer (now teacher) involved in a miserable marriage with a wife who constantly belittles him – at the end of the day, it’s two loners subconsciously seeking some escape in each other’s company, overlooking the consequences.

The bad news is that despite the great performances from both sides, the whole narrative concept feels like an adolescent’s dirty fantasy turned into a fanfic. In Miller’s Girl we see two selfish people with questionable tendencies whose desire to be valued as writers unfolds through unhealthy coping methods.

Not only this but there are also too many questions we need answered: Why do Cairo’s parents dislike her that much? Where does she get the money from? Why did she decide to be a writer? In Miller’s case, we can see some depth of his character due to the failed marriage; when it comes to Ortega’s heroine, her story seems way too perfunctory, making the viewer feel devoid of any particular feelings towards her potential transformation.

The teacher’s victim mindset and Cairo’s uncanny motives might leave some viewers disappointed and confused, as there is way too much left to be unpacked for the story to impress.

Fun Fact:

Miller’s Girl premiered at Palm Springs Film Festival on January 11, 2024.

Miller's Girl
Miller's Girl explores the controversial relationship between a teacher and his student, delving into themes of loneliness and escape, but fails to provide depth to its characters, leaving viewers with unanswered questions and a sense of dissatisfaction.
Entertainment Value
2 posts

About author
I'm Kseniia, a 24-year-old film lover from London. I have a passion for movies of different styles and genres and love analyzing and discussing them with others who share my enthusiasm. In September 2024, I will start my Master's in filmmaking to further develop my skills and deepen my understanding of film. My favourite movie is 'Little Miss Sunshine'. Desert Island Movie Collection: Films starring Emma Stone.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments