Sunday, September 22, 2013

Miss Potter (Chris Noonan, 2006) Review

One of the places that I adore and visit every year is the Lake District. It's a fascinating place with a rich history and one of the most famous children book authors, Beatrix Potter, is an example of the history. With such a strong iconography, I thought that it would be surprising not to have a film based on her life and her works so upon hearing of this film, I decided to take a look.

In Victorian London, Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger) lives with her family with her mother (Barbara Flynn) trying to find her a good husband and her father (Bill Paterson) trying to push her talents, which consists of story-telling and art. When she offers her stories to a pint house, she is assigned a rookie publisher, Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor), who becomes enthraled in her stories and publishes her book. Becoming an overnight success, Beatrix continues to publish stories with Norman which starts a romance between the two.

I have to address a bit of questionable casting, primarily Renée Zellweger. I appreciate that she has pulled of British roles before but nothing about her at all screams 'Beatrix Potter'. It's a sign that the studio only wanted to aim to an American audience and not focus on getting someone more convincing. You could argue she does a good job but I don't feel like I'm seeing Beatrix Potter. She just seems a bit too 'Bridget Jones' for my liking. Nothing against the actress, I just feel like this isn't the best role for her. I guess the average screenplay doesn't do much justice for this though. At least actors like Bill Paterson and Emily Watson give good performances.

On the other hand, this is a very nice looking film. This is to be expected since part of it is set in the Lake District but the bits in London look good too. Part of the look is helped by using imagery inspired by Beatrix Potter's work so they are inherently nice looking. I also feel that it does accurately portray bits of Beatrix Potter's life but there isn't anything distinctly memorable about.

If it weren't for the fact that this focusing on Beatrix Potter, this would be a much blander film with nothing memorable in it. It's not bad by any means but there isn't anything distinct about it except the subject. Renée Zellweger isn't suited for the role and is only in it for star appeal but at least we get some nice shots of the Lake District and it will spread awareness of Beatrix Potter's work which is always a plus in my book...shame that the film wasn't strong.

A decent attempt at portraying Beatrix Potter's life but Renée Zellweger isn't right for the part and there isn't much that makes the film stand out. 

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