Miss Potter

This film is based on Beatrix Potter, famous for writing and illustrating the children's story The Tale of Peter Rabbit. But the movie, really, isn't about that. However, it's hard to pinpoint what the movie is about. It really isn't a story about her rise from nothing to fame, because she starts off rich and gets published in the first scene of the movie and then begins to gain fame within the first 30 minutes. It's more of a love story between Beatrix (Renee Zellweger) and her publisher, Norman (Ewan McGregor), as well as her friendship with Norman's sister, Millie (Emily Watson)... as well as her relationships with her parents. So if I were to be asked what this movie is about, I'd answer ‘the many relationships of Beatrix Potter.'

Obviously one of the major faults of the movie, to me, is that it has no clear purpose. The movie moves as an almost breakneck speed, leaving no room for plot, character development, or chemistry. It moves from scene to scene adding more tidbits on the life of Beatrix Potter without really extending on any given moment besides its importance on the surface level. There was no real chemistry between Zellweger and McGregor. There was only a marginal bit of chemistry between Zellweger and Watson. But none of the characters really grew. They all stayed exactly the same, including Beatrix. Sure, she moves on with life and eventually stands up for herself... but she did that numerous times in other different ways as shown in the movie. There needed to be a lot more to the movie, especially on the character of William Heelis, who has all of 4 or 5 scenes in the entire movie, but turns out to be highly important in Beatrix's life. His complete lack of screen time gives the audience no ability to attach to him or actually care about what the heck happens (much like with any character in the movie). And then within the last 15-20 minutes of the movie, it continues to go in a completely unimportant direction before abruptly ending. There's no real conflict or climax to the movie. It's just like "moments in the life of Beatrix Potter."

     As for acting, I felt Ewan McGregor and Emily Watson did the best job. Renee Zellweger, though I'm not sure why, got on my nerves. Something about the way she acted the part was just irritating. Not to mention she came off as clinically insane for most of the movie. It was interesting, at the least, how her pictures kept coming to life via her imagination, but they really didn't make too much use of the idea (except in one scene to show a mental breakdown, though, as I said, she was arguably already mentally unstable anyway).

     I usually talk about a movie more than this, but I honestly don't know what else to say about it. The movie was at least somewhat entertaining for the most part, though it had a lot of flaws to me, and the last 20 minutes or so was pointless and needed a lot more meat to it. The best visual is toward the beginning when the young Beatrix is picturing her parents getting into a pumpkin-carriage being led by giant rabbits (and driven by a mouse, if I remember correctly). I really didn't care for Renee's acting in the part, and the movie could have just used more of a plot in general. That's about all I can say on that.

Reviewed by: Nick