Miranda’s Victim is a fascinating story about a legal precedent established in 1966 called the Miranda warning. The story is told from the victim’s point of view. Abigail Breslin plays the victim of a rape (trigger warning, folks) by a man named Ernesto Miranda (Sebastian Quinn). The legal cases that followed the victim’s decision to pursue a case against her rapist ended up before the Supreme Court.
Miranda’s Victim, directed by Michelle Danner, starts with a shy and naive 18 year old high school girl who was raped on her way home from work at the local theater. The victim’s name was never released at the time and for years it remained hidden. After all these years, she decided to tell her story. Trish Weir is her name.
Emily VanCamp played Trish’s older sister, Ann. She was the one supporting Trish in her desire to report the rape and identify the rapist. Trish’s mother Zeola Weir (Mireille Enos) urged Trish to let it go, say nothing.
The police were sympathetic and kind to Trish. They did what was normal for them in the 1960s. They found the car Trish identified. They saw the rope used to tie her up in the back seat. They arrested Ernesto Miranda. They put him in a lineup and Trish identified him. He signed a confession willingly. But he never had an attorney present, was never told he could remain silent. There was no law requiring the police to do that at the time.
Miranda was tried, convicted and sent to prison.
Lawrence Turoff (Luke Wilson) was Trish’s attorney. John Flynn (Ryan Phillippe) a lawyer with the ACLU, heard about the case. He appealed the conviction. He knew Miranda was guilty but that wasn’t his concern. His case involved the fact that there had been no attorney to advise Miranda and he didn’t know he could remain silent.
When it was all over, after several cases in various courts including the Supreme Court of the U.S., Miranda was still guilty and still in prison. But there were new requirements to warn suspects about their rights we now call The Miranda Rights. Over 100 countries now have similar laws. Wikipedia has more background on the legal aspects of this case.
The movie, however, looked at Trish and her trauma. It took courage and determination for Trish Weir to pursue her case. So many rapes go unreported. Only 5 out of a 1000 rapes are ever prosecuted. The movie explored how it affected her life, her nightmare-plagued sleep, her eventual marriage, her relationship with her family. All she wanted was for her rapist to be in prison where he belonged. The fact that her case would be the impetus for a major change in future laws was not her doing or her concern.
Abigail Breslin did a beautiful job playing Trish. The cast as a whole was excellent. Other actors in this include Kyle MacLaclan, Donald Sutherland, Taryn Manning, and Andy Garcia.
The film is streaming on Hulu.