Miss Potter

Beatrix Potter, (Renee Zellwegger),  dreams of publishing her own children’s stories featuring such characters as Peter Rabbit.  Determined to become an author against the wishes of her upper-crust parents, Beatrix finds a publisher willing to take her on.  One of its partners, Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor), encourages her to fulfil her dreams and begins to not only become enchanted with the characters but Miss Potter herself.  This part fantasy/biopic follows the tribulations of her efforts to get her vision printed and the personal trials she had to overcome.
Miss Potter presents a fanciful biography done in the glossy style of her books.  The picture perfect countryside and genteel Englishness of her surroundings are all framed in an ever present soft haze of nostalgia.  Beatrix Potter is shown as an eccentric feminist who gleefully railed against the airs and graces of her well heeled high society friends, beguiling everyone with her winsome charms.  Her friendship with fellow eccentric Millie (Emily Watson), provides some life in a film that presents a very pleasant slice of nothing.
Biopics about authors have been hit and miss as filmmakers seem to be under the illusion that most authors’ lives are grand enough for the movie treatment.  Beatrix Potter is presented as a nice person but her life seemed quite ordinary outside of her fantasy world.  The use of animation to bring her characters to life never seems to gel seemingly being there to distract the audience from the blandness of the script.  The screenplay follows the basic biopic set-up with Potter’s story barely being involving enough to stretch out the running time. 
Given the unevenness of the story, the performances follow suit.  Renee Zellwegger is terrible as Potter, wildly over playing the arch script, making her role seem like a theatrical caricature.  Zellwegger alone isn’t guilty of this, as most of the cast play this way as well, as though they are sending up the early English 20th Century setting.  The only person who acts with any grace and realism is Bill Paterson who plays Potter’s father.  His natural delivery makes one wish everyone did the same, making the film seem more grounded than it should have been.
The film is a very pretty affair with the costumes and scenery being as expected.  The G rating given this film seems to have forced the writers to whitewash various aspects of Potters life, ensuring the facts never get in the way of telling a coy, sweet yarn. 
Rating out of 10:   3

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