Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Miss Potter

For a film with absolute no apparant 'bloke appeal,' I enjoyed Miss Potter far more than I thought I would.

It's a film about the life of Beatrix Potter, the world's most popular children's author and creator of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and all the rest of our childhood pals. I have a particular soft spot for Tom Kitten, who burst out of his brass buttons.

Miss Potter stars Renee Zellweger, who has followed in Gwyneth Paltrow's footsteps and now seems more qualified to play institutional women in Britain's literary history than any real British woman could.

That being said, this isn't a fluffy Hollywood version of Potter's life. Oh, it's certainly fluffy, but it's filmed in the same staid style as the finest Jane Austen adaptation. The life of Beatrix Potter isn't portrayed as melodramatic or exciting. Simply the story of a woman who refused to fit into the strict rules of the post-Victorian era.

Beatrix is a woman in her early thirties, who's doting parents long abandoned the idea of marrying her off to a suitable suitor a long time ago. She sits upstairs, obsessed with a paintbrush and her 'friends,' the series of wonderful creatures she creates and paints in beautiful watercolour.

To defy her stoic parents, Beatrix takes her books to publishers and is gratified when Warne & Co. pledge to publish Peter Rabbit. Little does she know that this contract is merely an indulgence to keep the youngest Warne brother, Norman, out of trouble.

But like Beatrix herself, Norman is determined to break free of the shackles parents and society have placed on him and together, he and Beatrix create a new, exciting and affordable book for children that soon flies off the shelves and makes Beatrix famous. And in this common goal, Beatrix and Norman soon reach a romantic understanding.

But even in a nice, predictable story like this, the path of love never runs smooth.

Miss Potter is an evenly paced, sumptuously filmed movie that is a delight to watch. It's practically a love letter to the beautiful Lake District.

My only complaint would be Renee Zellweger herself, who pulls off the accent, the rosy cheeks and the auburn hair - but still can't help gurning and squinting throughout the movie. She basically played Miss Potter as a slightly uptight, sober Bridget Jones.

Miss Potter is in cinemas now.

1 comment:

carrie said...

squinting, HA! SHe is the mistress of squint, I tell you!!