Evelyn GoughIn the Picture
Directed by Chris Noonan
In his first movie since the crowd-pleasing and Oscar-winning Babe, Aussie director Chris Noonan has chosen to tell the story of one of Englands, and indeed the worlds, most popular childrens authors.
JK Rowling may have inherited her crown, but no so long ago Beatrix Potter was the worlds most successful childrens writer. And while most of you are familiar with her many animal characters like Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck there are precious few who know the story behind the name. A situation the delightful period bio-pic Miss Pottter will remedy.
Set in late Victorian and Edwardian England it stars Renee Zellweger as Beatrix, a woman whose storytelling and artistic talents were obvious from childhood. Although encouraged by her father (Bill Paterson), her gift was never acknowledged by her domineering and snobbish mother (Barbara Flynn). And neither of her parents approved of her engagement to publisher, Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor) in 1905. Being from trade they considered him to be beneath them, much to Beatrixs disgust.
Like millions of other children I was raised on Beatrix Potters stories and have many happy memories of hours spent pouring over her little books. It was therefore with much anticipation that I was looking forward to this film about her life. Especially as I love bio-pics and British movies.
But I have one enormous whinge. Why for heavens sake have a Texan play this iconic English character! (Although its pretty obvious when you read the credits and discover Renee Zellweger is the executive producer.) There are so many fabulous British actresses who could have done a much better job. Instead, it was like watching Bridget Jones play Beatrix Potter. And badly at that. Im just completely over Renee Zellweger and all her little mannerisms! If I have to watch her squint her eyes up one more time Im going to scream!
Apart from that the film was terrific! Ewan McGregor is great, Emily Watson is always fantastic (and would have made a much better Beatrix!), the countryside looks gorgeous and its a fascinating story. And guaranteed not a single car chase or explosion!