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Home | Film Reviews | Film Review: Dorothy Mills (2008)

Film Review: Dorothy Mills (2008)

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Shortly after the tragic death of her husband and young son, psychiatrist Jane Morton (Carice van Houten) is summoned to a small island to look into the case surrounding Dorothy Mills (Jenn Murray), a teenage girl accused of strangling a small child. After surmising that Dorothy is suffering from multiple personality disorder, Jane is forced to square off against the community pastor (Gary Lewis), who’s convinced that Dorothy is possessed.


Dorothy Mills is a rather complex film. It would be wrong to call it scary though it does have a high level of creepiness.

Set in a small island rural setting that instantly brought back visions of “The Wicker Man”, the film centers mostly around the complex single character of Dorothy Mills. A psychiatrist by the name of Jane Morton (Carice van Houten) is summoned by the state to look into the bizarre case of Dorothy. As it reads in the paper, Dorothy is accused of strangling a child while under her watch as a baby sitter. When Jane arrives, she is greeted with the usual snide response that many of these small town settings impose on viewers, which is the ignorance of locals into accepting anyone outside of there town as a threat to there way of life. Jane who is only schedule to be in town a few days takes up a room so she can properly diagnose Dorothy.

What she finds in Dorothy is a class case of multiple personalities disorder. In this case, the personalities range over several personalities which should also give actress Jenn Murray who plays Dorothy a shoe-in for some kind of acting award as she switches from personality to personality without batting an eye. Dorothy of course has no recollection of the incident as at the time she was under another personally. Jane discovers there is something more to the case then what appears.

The townsfolk are too suspicions which raises curiosity. It also doesn’t help that Dorothy’s personalities seem to switch out during the day with a complete makeover at night which calls herself Mary (Note more proof of Jenn Murray’s brilliance which at first is unrecognizable from her true identity) Also something about those innocent but brooding eyes of her play perfect on her transformations. Jane is compelling as she tries to keep her cool in a obvious unwanted environment. Thoiugh as we’ve come to learn in cinema , things are not always what they seem.

Clues and whispers lead to heightened weird behaviors by the townsfolk who really don’t want Jane sticking around. The discoveries take a turn of the supernatural as she is introduced to the voice of her recently deceased son as one of Dorothy’s persona’s. This film has an air of brilliance about that keeps you guessing on the potential outcomes. We do see the town for what it is, selfish, secretive and hiding something dark. The idea of a professional questioning her own values comes into play as well. This is a nice steup that can be taken advantage of as the filmplays out.

Though I do love a film that spins different yarns to bring you on a quest for answers. This film has that going for it.

More so than a straight horror film this film serves as a testament to great acting. The story is unique though one could count a handful of influences or similarities in the makeup of the film. As mentioned ones that come to mind are (“The Wicker man”, “Sybil”, and even possibly a stretch with “Dead and Buried” and “The Calling”) Director Agnès Merlet really knows how to capture an acting performance and pull out the talents. One might find the townsfolk clique but they do deliver an performance of believability. That whole community bonding and keeping things as they are seems to go a long way in these kind of stories. Perhasp becuase in some sectors it’s true and truer in ghighly religious portions of the world.

This film is best described as jarring filled with a load of surprises along the way. I dug it and think you will to! Its a different kind of story but it truly delivers in those differences.

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