I don’t ever remember reading any of Beatrix Potter’s books, but I’m still familiar with them, but for many other people I’m sure they are fond childhood memories. They are after all among the best-selling children’s books of all time.
Although back in the early 1900’s most of the publishers that Miss Potter approached didn’t really see the potential of her stories about rabbits and ducks. It wasn’t until the Warne brothers decided that her book would be perfect for their younger, inexperienced brother that she became a published author. The two elder Warne’s didn’t consider that Potter’s books would make any money, and so it didn’t matter if Norman messed up.
Of course he didn’t mess up, and Beatrix Potter’s books went on to become incredibly successful, and Beatrix and Norman found themselves falling in love. Something that Beatrix’s mother was not at all impressed by. A tradesman in the family! How terrible.
There is nothing all that fantastic about this film; it is however a charming and enjoyable story. The illustrations that occasionally come to life add a lot to the film, but never get in the way of the story. And while the film misses out on a lot that went on in Potter’s life, it still covers quite a bit of ground, and makes everything quite believable.
I was a little annoyed by Zellweger in certain points, but I can’t point out any real reason why, her mannerisms perhaps. However for the most part she does very well in the role, with no trouble with the accent. McGregor’s role is, in a way, quite similar to his character in Moulin Rouge albeit it less melodramatic, and as usual he carries it off with ease.
Despite the amount of trailers for animated films that went on before the screening that I saw, this is not a film for children. It isn’t that there is anything that might be unsuitable for them, rather there is little that might hold their attention. It is a biopic, not a comedy.
In a way it is a little too simple a story, because there is much more to Beatrix Potter than her books, or indeed her buying land in the Lake District to preserve the countryside. She had quite a scientific mind, although because of the attitude towards women at the time she wasn’t taken very seriously. Still, it is a lovely film, not overly sentimental, but perhaps lacking that something special to make it stand out.