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'Miss Potter' Movie Review: Another Enchanting Potter
To those who are not familiar with the English children's book author Beatrix Potter, the initial reaction to having a "Miss Potter" film would be: just another movie simply riding on the "Harry Potter" fame. Yet, watching the film proves this wrong.
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"Miss Potter" is a wholesome film for adults that features a charming take on Beatrix Potter's life. It is a biopic hand painted with the creative license of adding flair, style, and inventive treatment to the story of a very individualistic female artist and writer from turn-of-20th century London. It is not a complex portrait of literary artistry, but it touches on a tender tale about struggling hearts and courageous idealism.
Known for her whimsical books, Potter wields magic from her pen to a moving picture offer through a fairy tale story rooted from reality. By showing realistic tones with a workable, pleasant escape to a fantasy world, this movie features a light-hearted and magical feel to it without losing grip from its very source. Potter, a woman with a faraway imagination, vividly paints the picture of an inspirational woman who has created lovely bedtime stories for children. It is fantasy drawn from realism.
"Miss Potter" offers a brilliant exercise of imagination and an interpretation of the forces that inspired Potter's phenomenally successful career as a children's book author. Director Chris Noonan allows the film to look refreshingly gentle and a little cheeky in many charming ways. The movie pulls off a neat animation to show how the solitary Potter comes up with her animal creations - the animal drawings smile, wink, or leap around from the pages.
The production design and art direction add up to the enchanting and bunny trail undertones of the story. The photography is equally pretty as Potter's watercolor art works. The characterization is too fanciful, but it yields to the film's effectively dreamy treatment. The film's gentleness and grace is as charming as Peter Rabbit and Tom Kitten. Its love story is beautifully constructed with that caring touch that does not take things too far. There is still focus on the viewers finding themselves being moved by Beatrix's character as she plays with her imagination, discovers her strengths, and accepts the biting realities of life.
The delightful story grows with the audience. It is sweet, beautiful and captivating as it explores the film's undemanding narrative. Sentimental as it is, there is no much complexity to overplay the audience's emotional cords. The tenderness and charm of this picture captures the world with enough sensitivity about a lonely woman's quest for love and acceptance. It centers more on the emotional side of Potter's character than merely showing her career achievements.
Apart from a start that is a little too trying hard to be a refined piece on its own (the painting hands opening billboard looks more inhibited than artistic), the rest of the film flows rather exquisitely sweet.
Any artist, writer, and woman who visits a world of her own during creative moments (mainly those who get branded as weird or autistic or crazy) can relate and get touched by this film. It pays tribute to a single woman's quest for independence and individuality and freedom for all her creative endeavors.
RenÃ©e Zellweger delivers a sensitive and forceful performance as Beatrix Potter. She does a fine job of fleshing out both the strength and the playfulness of the character. Ewan McGregor as Norman Warne keeps up with both Zellweger's strength and grace of character. Zellweger and McGregor have believable rapport and that needed chemistry. The romantic scenes effectively work even with its minimal touchiness.
The rest of the characters are as cartoony as Potter and Warne. From Emily Watson playing the role of Millie Warne, to Barbara Flynn as Beatrix's mother Helen Potter, to Bill Paterson as Beatrix's father Rupert Potter, to the rest of the characters of the film, they all work endearingly well to make this movie an undeniably refreshing treat.
"Miss Potter" may not be too deep, but it is a curiously endearing and scenic account of Beatrix's life and times.