‘Grown-Up and Nuanced’: Martin Freeman About His Controversial Scene with Jenna Ortega

‘Grown-Up and Nuanced’: Martin Freeman About His Controversial Scene with Jenna Ortega
Image credit: Lionsgate Films

Freeman addressed the backlash The Miller’s Girl received thanks to the 31-age-gap between him and his on-screen intimate and romantic partner, Jenna Ortega.


  • Jenna Ortega and Martin Freeman’s latest movie The Miller’s Girl earned a backlash for allegedly romanticizing relationships between minors and adults.
  • Martin Freeman defended the film claiming that it got “tainted by association” and pointed out that we don’t judge other movies for tackling difficult topics.
  • Despite his justification, The Miller’s Girl turned out to be a critical failure, getting largely negative reviews for both its icky story and immature execution.

Martin Freeman and Jenna Ortega are two examples of brilliant actors from different generations. With Freeman having established himself a few decades ago and Ortega already having a strong presence despite her young age, it’s fun to compare their careers and creative approaches — but viewers found it far less fun to compare their ages when watching the two having an on-screen intimate relationship.

Freeman Speaks Up Against Public Backlash

The audience largely found Martin Freeman and Jenna Ortega’s latest collaboration, The Miller’s Girl, quite disturbing. In the movie, the two actors play an English teacher and his young student who indulge in their near-forbidden relationship, and some viewers lashed at the movie for “romanticizing” relationships between minors and those they’re dependent on.

Freeman strongly disagrees with the sentiment.

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The actor recently sat down with The Times and addressed the public backlash against The Miller’s Girl. Freeman called the movie “grown-up and nuanced” and emphasized that it doesn’t promote the idea of such a relationship — and was merely “tainted by association” because of tackling a difficult topic.

To explain his point, Martin Freeman gave another example: Steven Spielberg ’s Schindler’s List. “Are we gonna have a go at Liam Neeson for being in a film about the Holocaust?” Freeman asked, pointing out how ridiculous that would be.

The Miller’s Girl Got Destroyed by Critics

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For better or worse, Martin Freeman’s defense of his and Jenna Ortega’s movie came too late. Due to the mix of its icky story and the lack of experience on director

Jade Halley Bartlett’s part, The Miller’s Girl being his first feature film, the flick didn’t get a chance with both the critics and the audience who didn’t take it lightly.

“Despite its literary pretensions, [The Miller’s Girl] possesses roughly the intellectual heft of a perfume ad. Dated and creepy in all the wrong ways, it’s a movie that might have escaped derision in the 1980s but deserves to get slapped around today,” CNN’s Brian Lowry wrote.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Freeman and Ortega’s latest movie only got 29 and 48% Critic and Audience Scores, respectively. In a rare turn of events, IMDb ranked it higher with a still underwhelming 5.2/10 score. All the while, the actors’ performance is praised — but the movie and its story were not something the people wanted to see.

Source: The Times, CNN