Monday, Aug 08, 2022

‘The Girl From Plainville’ Review: Elle Fanning Shines In An Eye-Opening Crime Drama About Today’s Teenagers

Outlook rating
4 / 5

The real-life courtroom drama, which became massively popular as the ‘texting suicide case’ has been made into a crime drama called ‘The Girl From Plainville’ starring Elle Fanning. Is the 8-episodic show on Lionsgate Play worth a watch? Read the full review to find out.

A Still From 'The Girl From Plainville'
A Still From 'The Girl From Plainville' Instagram

Show Creator

Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus


Elle Fanning, Chloë Sevigny, Cara Buono, Kai Lennox, Colton Ryan, Norbert Leo Butz

What’s The Story

The story revolves around Conrad Roy III, a young man dealing with anxiety and loneliness in a world where he doesn't feel he belongs. When he first meets Michelle Carter (Elle Fanning), he sees someone who understands his problems and recognises the true him. But his connection with Carter takes a dark turn as he decides to terminate his life and becomes reliant on her support to do it. Will Carter be able to save him? Or will she push Roy further into his troubles? Will Carter get saved in the mess-up? Well, you’ll have to watch the show to find out.

Watch Trailer

What’s Good

Elle Fanning Is The Star Of The Show

Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter carries the weight of the series on her shoulders and she very smoothly slips into the character very beautifully. There will be scenes where you would feel that she is delusional and the very next you would feel she is trying to win people’s sympathy. In one scene you would feel she is a psychopath and in the very next you’ll feel that she is just plain narcissistic. All through this, with every episode, you’ll feel that she is slowly and steadily spiralling more and more into grief. The changes in the shades of the character that Fanning manages to bring are what makes this a memorable performance.

Chloë Sevigny and Colton Ryan come up with really measured performances. They may have a lesser screen time, but manage to tap every ounce of the character they were offered.

Show creators, Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus have managed to capture very brilliantly the pathos, the angst, the frustration and the urge to know what’s right and what’s not. They have managed to capture the essence of the real-life incident, and yet make it interesting for the screen. Not many real-life adaptations are able to do that.

Frederick Elmes, Elisha Christian and Kat Westergaard’s cinematography is so apt to the telling of a story like this. Not only have they managed to capture the real-life locales to pure perfection, but even the courtroom scenes also look so well-lit and beautifully shot. Really makes you, as an audience, feel like standing right beside Fanning in all that’s happening in her life.

The music and background score by Leopold Ross and Nick Chuba is a key weapon in bringing the viewer close to feeling what the same characters in real life must have been feeling.

The messaging behind the show is very poignant and makes you think about what can happen to teenagers in today’s world. The peer pressures, the anxieties of teenage life, how youngsters are always wanting to try new things and how all of this can, at times, become life-threatening, if not kept in check. It’s disturbing yet eye-opening. The real-life courtroom drama, which happened in the US state of Massachusetts, became massively popular as the texting suicide case about 7-8 years back, and ‘The Girl From Plainville’ manages to tell the events that happened during that time very chronologically and objectively.

What’s Bad

Episodes Should Have Been Shorter

A major shortcoming of the show is the editing by Kate Hickey, Libby Cuenin and Ryan Denmark. The episodes are 40-50 minutes long which could have been easily chopped down to 30-35 minutes. It would have made the story a lot more taut and thrilling.

Also, Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus shouldn’t have got the story to the verge of a trial that early (around the 3rd episode). Considering they were making an 8-episoder, that part could have come in a couple of episodes later because it’s difficult for an audience to hold on to their patience for so long about what the final verdict would be.


There are certain characters who are meant to be played by certain actors, and Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter is one such performance. She manages to outperform in every scene and also manages to hide the little shortcomings in the scripts without the audience even noticing. Watch the show just for her brilliant performance. It might not look that interesting at the outset, but the show manages to surprise you. It’s a definite Must Watch. I am going with 4 stars.