Miss Potter
Apparently I can’t draw animals with pants.

Theatrical Release Date: 12/29/2006
Director: Chris Noonan
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson

Most of you who know me or read a good enough portion of my reviews know that I’m not a big fan of Renée Zellweger (what’s with the pretentious “é” in her name?)

Aside from a fun role in “Empire Records” and her character in “Jerry Maguire”, I just about always want her to spit out the lemon in her mouth, get in a car with Nicole Kidman and run into a light pole.

However, she has shown an aptitude for playing British women in the first “Bridge Jones” film (let’s not discuss the sequel) and in “Miss Potter”, she has to fill the illustrious shoes of the title character, Beatrix Potter.

A beloved figure, she’s the best selling children’s book author of all time according to the film and no other research of my own whatsoever.

I’m only cursorily familiar with the work, having graduated to Calvin & Hobbes fairly early in my development. Still, I find her art quite adorable and perfect for the age group being targeted.

Her books are classic fare, much like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “The Ugly Duckling”.

Making a movie about her life didn’t excite me all too much but having a friend who is enamored with her work, I decided to check “Miss Potter” out for myself.

In doing so, I am reminded of the cliché, “Never judge a book by its cover”. And if not for my friend, I would have passed on this as another sour-faced dud from Zellweger.

Potter’s life as a privileged English girl struggling to find her own footing and meet life on her own terms is just interesting enough to make the film work.

The film is truly heartwarming and so sweet at times, it made my cheeks hurt. For the first half of the film, I was worried that it would all just be sugar and spice and everything nice.
However, as with all biopics, there is the inevitable obstacle placed in the person’s life. It isn’t quite the story of perseverance as depicted in something like “God Grew Tired Of Us” or “Mrs. Henderson Presents” but it provides that humanizing element that all of us can relate to.

The acting is all done fairly well and the English countryside has rarely looked more lovely, with director Chris Noonan carefully choosing some gorgeous landscapes to frame the picture within.

“Miss Potter” won’t blow you away with fascinating revelations into her life and it doesn’t break any new filmmaking ground.

Still, it’s undeniably sweet and just a nice little movie to enjoy on a sunny day. While not something I might proclaim as necessary, you can do far worse and probably earn some brownie points with your ladyfriend if she’s into these kind of films.

A 3 out of 5, “Miss Potter” will keep a smile on your face and might just bring you back to those more innocent years when the only watch you needed was the streetlight flickering on and telling you it was time to go home.