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  • Martin Freeman addressed the controversy around his latest film, “Miller’s Girl.” 
  • Freeman, 52, plays a teacher who has a relationship with his student, played by 21-year-old Ortega.
  • He said the movie isn’t endorsing age gap romances any more than Holocaust movies endorse genocide.

Martin Freeman addressed the controversy caused by his latest film, “Miller’s Girl,” in which he stars opposite Jenna Ortega, who is 31 years younger than him.

The movie, which landed on Netflix on April 25, follows a high school student, played by Ortega, who begins a sexual relationship with her English teacher, played by Freeman.

Audiences were quick to criticize the film due to the age gap between the two actors — Ortega is 21, while Freeman is 52. Some said the film romanticizes the relationship between minors and those in positions of power.

Speaking with The Times of London for an interview published Saturday, Freeman defended “Miller’s Girl” as “grown-up and nuanced.”


“It’s not saying, ‘Isn’t this great,'” he said of the film’s dynamic between his character and Ortega’s.

Freeman said the film had been “tainted by association” with a difficult subject.

He said that derision wasn’t distributed equally, though — saying that people seemed to understand the level of distance involved in stories depicting Nazism.

“Are we gonna have a go at Liam Neeson for being in a film about the Holocaust?” he asked, referring to Neeson’s starring role in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film “Schindler’s List.”


Martin Freeman and Jenna Ortega in “Miller’s Girl.”


Although the controversial relationship at the center of “Miller’s Girls” prompted a lot of comment, the film wasn’t a hit.

It premiered at the Palm Springs Film Festival to underwhelming box office numbers.

The R-rated film was given a small theatrical release in the US, showing at just 350 screens for just one week domestically, earning $321,000 in ticket sales, according to box office tracker The Numbers.

It took an additional $568,522 at the international box office, bringing its total gross to $889,522 — less than a quarter of its $4 million production budget.


On review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the film earned a critic score of 29% based on 58 reviews. Its audience score is 42% based on 50-plus verified ratings.

This could, of course, change now that “Miller’s Girl” has been on one of the most popular streaming platforms.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.