Miller’s Girl Ending, Explained: Does Cairo Testify Against Miller?

Jade Barrett’s ‘Miller’s Girl’ embraces strains of teenage desires and afflictions whilst exploring the consequences and complexities of intimate teacher-student relationships. ‘Miller’s Girl’ may conclude with more questions than answers, even though it is bound to keep its viewers interested throughout its runtime.

The film takes place in and around a Tennessee public school, where academic genius Cairo Sweets begins taking Jonathan Miller’s English Literature class. Cairo is immediately enamored with Miller, and so is Miller with Cairo’s literary prowess. Miller gives a special assignment to Cairo, which reveals her true feelings about him. This poses a complex scenario for Miller, who has his job and his marriage at stake. What happens to them in the end? SPOILERS AHEAD.

Miller’s Girl Plot Synopsis

‘Miller’s Girl’ begins with the introduction of Cairo Sweet, an 18-year-old student in her final year of high school. She is a student of extraordinary academic talent, with an incredible passion for writing and knowledge of literature far more sophisticated than her peers. She is recommended by her best friend Winnie to Jonathan Miller’s literature class and begins attending. Left alone to tend to a giant mansion by her lawyer parents, who are away on a work trip, she becomes infatuated with Miller. Over time, she becomes more enamored by Miller’s intellect and similarities in literary taste.

Miller, additionally, is so blown away by Cairo’s intelligence and writing acumen that he immediately begins giving her extra attention. Their bond begins to strengthen as Miller shows friendly affection towards Cairo. He thinks of her as somewhat of a protégé and starts becoming smitten by her adoration towards him. Miller and Cairo would regularly meet after and before school, as well as sometimes outside school.

To help get better grades in her midterms, Miller proposes that Cairo write a special essay, to which she promptly agrees. However, the essay turns out to be very inappropriate for school as it contains sexual themes between a student and a teacher. The essay rattles both Miller’s position at the school and the conditions of his marriage at home, causing many questions to arise about Cairo and Miller’s true relationship.

What Really Happens to Jonathan Miller?

‘Miller’s Girl’ ends quite obscurely, not answering several questions that its viewers may have about its main characters. One such question is if Cairo testified against Miller after the fiasco. Any form of intimate relationship would be an absolute no-go, even if the teacher were the best at their job. Intimate relationships between teacher and student, although aren’t common, have been recorded at even some of the most renowned institutions in the world. The consequences of which have been severe.

In the case of the film, Cairo is prepared to testify against Miller after he rejects her assignment. While any relationship of this sort would result in immediate expulsion, it becomes even more serious when the student is willing to testify against the teacher. With that being said, Miller could have easily lost his job if she did. The school even had a copy of the essay Cairo wrote, which she sneakily inserted into the principal’s letterbox. This not only prompted an investigation by the principal, but it also tarnished Miller’s reputation as a teacher.

Both Miller and Cairo are interviewed separately by the principal about the incidents that took place between them. Miller reacts to the principal’s outlook, revealing that he felt his side of the story had little to do with the decision they had already made. They conclude that Miller will be suspended, and the educational board will oversee the decision to remove him from the school according to Cairo’s testimony against Miller.

However, things could be different if other factors came into play. The film never really reveals if Miller did lose his job, neither does it imply that Cairo testified. In an unlikely turn of events, Cairo could have changed her mind, which may have altered the decision of the board. This possibility isn’t as speculative as one would think. Although, the film doesn’t offer anything solid on that front; we are allowed the freedom to ponder further. The possibility of Cairo not testifying against Miller is as strong as any other.

Cairo’s fear of rejection instigated her decision to testify against Miller in the first place. This decision appeared to be impulsive, something that can be altered with careful consideration. If she did think it through, it would drastically change the outcome of the board’s decision. It would save a man’s career and reputation, both as a teacher and more importantly as an author. Under those circumstances and with thorough contemplation, Cairo may have realized the gravity of her decision She could have identified the possible outcomes of her testimony on Miller’s life, as well as on her conscience.

Things change, though, when we take into consideration the thoughts of director, Jade Bartlett. Miller crossed a line- a line that shouldn’t have ever been overlooked, that’s crystal clear, however, Bartlett looks at this narrative as a villain archetype origin story. We see glimpses of it during the scene where Cairo submits her essay to Miller. She transforms her feelings of hurt and rejection into anger and rage, leading up to the decision at hand. If we stick to this villain archetype that Bartlett has crafted for Cairo, we’re more than certain Cairo testifies against Miller.

Whether or not Cairo did testify is left open for the viewer to interpret. However, some realities remain. As an adult responsible enough to avoid such a situation, Miller still insisted on getting closer to Cairo. This is primarily why he most likely did lose his job and at the same time, his dignity. He held the power to prevent this entirely, but as the story pans out, he didn’t.

What Happens to Beatrice and Jonathan?

Jonathan Miller’s wife, Beatrice is a writer who is lost in her ambitions. In the film, she appears distant and perpetually busy with her work, often unable to spend quality time with her husband. She is constantly on her computer and phone speaking to her writing agent.

Beatrice regards herself as the superior one in the relationship, often ridiculing Miller for giving up on writing to be a teacher. She makes fun of Miller and his lost interest in his primary aspiration. This consequently makes Miller’s satisfaction with his marriage dwindle. He sees that Cairo cares for his intellect and writing, and edges closer to her.

Director Jade Barrett reveals that in her story, no one is blameless. Miller’s failing marriage makes him accept and appreciate Cairo’s adoration of him. He’s more inclined towards Cairo than Beatrice during the events of the film. Even though Beatrice’s actions and intent towards Jonathan are uncalled for, he is still to blame for his actions towards Cairo. Although Beatrice and Jonathan do seem close, their relationship begins to deteriorate as the film progresses.

As Beatrice gets more and more distant from Jonathan, she finds out about his situation with Cairo. She initially teased him about it and had no clue he was reciprocating. After getting a call from the school, Beatrice is furious at what he’s done. She questions him, and while Jonathan denies everything, Beatrice knows him well. She can understand that he is hiding something and calls him out for it. Beatrice judges Jonathan in the most accurate way possible. She knew that he felt his life lacked adoration and validation which he received from Cairo.

Beatrice and Jonathan get into a heated argument, each side spewing negatives about the other. The result of the argument, though, is unclear, as is the situation of Jonathan and Beatrice’s marriage. However, the argument and the progressive distance between Beatrice and Jonathan imply that their separation after the events of the film is definitely on the cards. Their relationship was fading, with Beatrice perpetually being busy with her work and Jonathan’s dissatisfaction with their marriage.

Did Cairo and Miller Have a Physical Relationship?

Another obscurity in ‘Miller’s Girl’ is whether Cairo and Miller had physical relations. As the story goes, Miller mistakenly picked up Cairo’s phone and took it back home. Cairo realizes that she has misplaced her phone somewhere and calls it from her home phone, only to hear Miller on the other end of the line. Miller suggests that he drive to her house and give it back to her, knowing exactly where she lives.

When he reaches her place, Cairo is seen walking to the door in an elegant gown. They call out to each other, each asking the other to approach. They meet midway, and in a burst of attraction, they hesitantly start kissing in the rain. The scene here fades to black, and it is never confirmed if they did have physical relations. However, the film implies that they did.

As the story progresses, Cairo writes a well-crafted, intimate short story about Mr. Murphy and his physical interaction with a student. The essay is essentially Cairo revealing her true feelings about Miller and vividly describing their intimate relationship. Her graphic descriptions even turn on Miller, when he excuses himself from Beatrice to read Cairo’s story in the shed. He pleasures himself to her depictions taken from their sexual encounter.

Later, when Miller asks Cairo why she wrote it, she responds by telling him that she took inspiration from what she knew, once again implying that they did have sexual relations. Moments later in the film, when Miller rejects Cairo’s story, the two stare at one another, but Miller does not interject. He is unwilling to speak about the situation that he is in.

Apart from this, we also get to his reluctant nature during his interview with the principal. Even at this point, Miller is evasive and is disinclined to provide any information that’ll get him into trouble. His body language, in this instance, speaks louder than his words. He additionally reveals that he did go into Cairo’s house the day he went to drop off her cell phone. Collating all the incidents that led up to the end, we’re quite certain that Miller did have physical relations with Cairo; however, to what extent and how often remains a mystery.

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