Miss Potter Movie Review
Chris Noonan's first movie since Babe over ten years ago, Miss Potter is a lighthearted drama about Beatrix Potter, the creator of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit." Starring Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and Emily Watson, the movie is a weak version of a Jane Austen tale, and ultimately disappointing.
Zellweger stars as the title character, a wispy 30-year old daughter of a relatively rich family in class-structured England. While her family loves her, she is the disappointment of the family, as she still hasn't married and spends most of her time drawing "cartoons". She even talks to her "friends", her animations of suited bunnies and other woodsy creatures. When she finally finds a publisher, however, her life changes for the better, as her books skyrocket to the top of the charts (if they had charts back then) and she finds romance in her editor, played by McGregor.
Miss Potter starts off okay, but if you're expecting any serious drama, look elsewhere. I'm not a huge fan of Zellweger and am not a big fan of her here, as her character is just a little bit too wispy and in the clouds for my liking. Of course, in reality, Zellweger does a pretty good job (I'll admit it!), but her character is just so damned annoying.
The big problem with Miss Potter is its lack of exciting conflict. The movie is essentially about nothing, as nothing really happens. Potter lands her book deal in the first few minutes of the movie, rises to fame and makes lots of money. Instead, the film turns into an awkward romantic drama-comedy, which is then turned on its head by a sudden and unexpected death. Isn't that conflict, you ask? Yes, if done right, but Noonan just throws it at us one second without any foreshadowing or expectations of the like. To make matters worse, I didn't even really care, but when it happens, it makes you wonder what the rest of the movie is about. And guess: nothing!
Miss Potter has its charm and those interested in Beatrix Potter may enjoy the movie (after all, I'm assuming the big death in the film happened in real life), but for those who don't care about a 19th century woman who draws animals (the movie leaves out the fact that she was also a respected mycologist), the film offers little of interest. Not a bad movie as much as it is an uninteresting one, Miss Potter is a victim of its own lightheartedness.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.