Henry James says of his creations Miles and Flora that he "evoked the worst [he] could" (Letters 88), and Miles and Flora's preternatural beauty can certainly be read as a monstrosity by nineteenth-century century standards.
While the film offers plenty of signs that the ghosts of servants may indeed be taking advantage of what James calls the children's "helpless plasticity," it also proliferates with suggestions of the influence that both Miles and Flora themselves seem to exert over natural elements, especially of the air itself.
While in the novella the governess notes that Miles and Flora "were extraordinarily at one," the "traces of little understandings between them" (64) she witnesses are pronounced in the film, including the knowing glances they give each other when Miles asks about the governess's old home--"Was it too small for you to have secrets?"--implying that while Bly is large enough for secrets, there are none between him and Flora.
Miles and Flora refuse to be read only as unwanted orphans left to the care of servants, just as Anne and Nicholas refuse to be read only as victims of infanticide.
What was worse for the distressed woman was the thought that what Miles and Flora saw were things still more terrible than she imagined, visions that sprang from their association with the evil figures in the past.
Concluding his discussions of "my fable," James explains that he purposely did not specify the evils in which the ghosts either attempt to or actually involve Miles and Flora: "Only make the reader's general vision of evil intense enough, I said to myself...and his own experience, his own imagination, his own sympathy (with the children) and horror (of their false friends) will supply him quite sufficiently with all the particulars."
It is told from the viewpoint of the leading character, a governess in love with her employer, who goes to an isolated English estate to take charge of Miles and Flora
, two attractive and precocious children.