Jenna Ortega is stepping out of her comfort zone. The actress, better known for her turn as Wednesday Addams in the Netflix series Wednesday and for the role of Tara Carpenter in the Scream franchise, is starring in the drama Miller’s Girl. It’s set to make its debut on January 11th, 2024, during the Palm Springs Film Festival.
The movie’s trailer sees Ortega’s character, Cairo Sweet, introduce herself to her teacher – the aforementioned Mr. Miller played by Martin Freeman. Quickly the trailer settles into an unsettling flirtatious vibe between teacher and student, complete with music to match; “Burn It Down” by Daughter.
From Ortega’s intense stare and the way that she carries herself, there’s a notable difference between her very forward Wednesday and this character who is a dangerous foe playing a game of chess the teacher can’t even begin to understand.
If anything, Miller’s Girl feels reminiscent of Alicia Silverstone and Cary Elwes’ 1990s movie The Crush and is an opportunity for Ortega to fully display her acting skills. And you can see that in the moments of sweetness and how they transform into a cunning, calculating, and determined woman who is determined to get what she wants no matter what.
The end of the trailer also features a trigger warning, with a link to resources on what the trailer calls “the subject matter.” However, since the trailer isn’t very specific about what the subject matter is, and the resources aren’t either, one is left to wonder what exactly the warning is supposed to be about besides the disturbing nature of an age-gap romance between teacher and student.
Miller’s Girl has immediately caused controversy amongst fans because some have read the spec script when it was on The Black List. In that, Ortega’s character accuses the teacher of rape, perpetuating a narrative in Hollywood of the ‘innocent teacher’ and ‘manipulative student.’ This was in the old script and not confirmed to be in the new one.
Many were also saying that the problematic student/teacher would inevitably be romanticized as people have done in the past; Pretty Little Liars is a perfect example. This was before the trailer came out and only the first look image had been released.
And other’s pointed out that viewers being disturbed about this “unsettling” relationship between Ortega and Freeman’s character is the whole point of the movie. We should be disturbed.
Miller’s Girl, starring Jenna Ortega, hits theaters on January 26th, 2024.