Elle Fanning shines as the protagonist in “The Girl From Plainville,” portraying the real-life case of Massachusetts teenagers Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III. The story has already been retold in the news, a Lifetime movie, and a documentary. While the documentary, “I Love You, Now Die,” provided a nuanced perspective on Carter, the drama takes a more unsubtle approach, portraying her as a drama queen who gets carried away.
Despite the exceptional performances by Fanning, Colton Ryan, and Chloë Sevigny, the drama struggles with the essential interiority of the case. Unlike the documentary, which could include outside testimonies and evolve over years, the drama is limited to unfolding in “real” time and only through the eyes of those involved.
The script, though better than that of a Lifetime movie, falls short of exploring the story’s deeper layers. The case encompasses modern mores, the construction of identities, and the unique pressures on teens. Simultaneously, it also touches on timeless concerns like youth’s innocence, insecurities, and the traps it sets. A more multilayered and evocative script was needed to delve into these themes fully.
Considering that this is a real-life story involving young people, it feels like there’s not enough depth, insight, or value added to justify the dramatization. The endeavor lacks the profound exploration required for such a sensitive subject.
In conclusion, while Elle Fanning’s performance stands out in “The Girl From Plainville,” the drama falls short of capturing the complexity and depth of the true story. The documentary, “I Love You, Now Die,” remains the superior and more nuanced retelling of the tragic events.