She Came to Me (2023) Rebecca Miller’s Sweet and Quirky Comedy Drama. B-

Rebecca Miller, daughter of playwright Arthur Miller and wife of Daniel Day-Lewis, started as an actress, a bland and unimpressive one who, after appearing in a few dismal mainstream Hollywood movies in the early nineties, wisely decided to throw in the towel and become a writer-director. Not that her foray into this new side of the business was any more promising than her work in front of the camera. It took her two decades to hit her stride, but when she did, it was with the tour de force: “Maggie’s Plan” from 2015. This was a new Miller. She was lighter on her feet with the dialogue and the camera, and she got career-best performances from Julianne Moore, Peter Sarsgaard, and Greta Gerwig. It’s one of the best films of the last ten years.

She Came to Me

With “She Came to Me,” we have the same quirky Miller. However, although the ideas are there, they never come together to form a concrete whole. We have Peter Dinklage as a composer with writer’s block, his partner Anne Hathaway as a shrink who has a secret vocation to become a nun, Marisa Tomei making a welcome return as Dinklage’s muse who is a romance-obsessed tugboat Annie, and, the villain of the piece, Brian d’Arcy James, a nasty disciplinarian who likes to put on recreations of Confederate battles. They are all good, at least for a while, until we realize their characters are stuck in the mud and going nowhere.

Only the marvelous Joanna Kulig, who won so many awards as the lead in Pawel Pawilikowski’s “Cold War,” playing d’Arcy James’s abused partner and Dinklage/Hathawsy’s cleaning lady whose daughter happens to be in love with their son, manages to create a truly believable character. Her scenes anchor the film, but they are not quite enough to hold your interest throughout.

She Came to Me

So, “She Came to Me” is a step down from “ Maggie’s Plan” but still worth a try. It may surprise you. And there are enough ideas to keep us interested in whatever Rebecca Miller conjures up next.


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