CINEMA: by Michael Daniel (reviewer)News Weekly
Enchanting story for all ages - Miss Potter
, February 17, 2007
Michael E. Daniel reviews Miss Potter.Most of us remember with affection from our childhood Beatrix Potter's charming stories about animals, illustrated with her beautiful drawings and watercolours. The recently released film Miss Potter brings to the screen the story of this extraordinary writer.
Born in London in 1866, into a wealthy family, Beatrix resisted all efforts, particularly by her mother, to marry a socially acceptable man of wealth, and chafed at the strictures placed upon her. Instead, she enjoyed painting pictures and creating stories, hobbies that she had enjoyed from early childhood.Peter Rabbit
The film begins with Beatrix (Renée Zellweger) as a woman in her early thirties, receiving an offer from Frederick Warne & Company to publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Believing it will have little success, the Warne brothers cynically assign the publication project to their younger brother Norman (Ewan McGregor), who has been clamouring to join the family firm, as a means of discrediting him.
However, the result is the exact opposite. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
is an instant success and is soon followed by a range of other stories that make Beatrix Potter a household name and enable her to be financially independent of her family.
As the professional alliance between Norman and Beatrix develops, their friendship grows until Beatrix's parents are forced to invite Norman and his sister Millie (Emily Watson) to their Christmas party.
They are aghast, however, when they discover that Beatrix has accepted Norman's marriage proposal. They consider that Norman is socially beneath their family and initially reject the marriage, although, after a delay, they finally relent.
At the height of happiness, Beatrix learns that Norman has died. Stricken with grief, she is supported by Millie and decides to buy Hill Top farm in the Lake District, the area she holidayed in as a child. This decision gives her a new lease of life.
Realising that she would be stifled if she continued to live with her parents, she uses her royalty money to purchase working farms in the Lake District, thereby saving them from being subdivided by developers, a legacy that she was to bequeath to the National Trust upon her death.
In this venture she is aided by William Heelis (Lloyd Owen), a country solicitor, whom she later marries.Miss Potter
is an extremely moving film. Renée Zellweger plays the title role superbly and is supported throughout by an excellent cast.
London interiors and street scenes are authentically recreated, and the film is replete with magnificent scenes of English countryside. This movie is suitable for most age groups.— film reviewed by Michael E. Daniel.