Miles on Movies

Miss Potter

reviewed by R. Miles Mendenhall

An über chick flick. A bit icky sweet, but well made. Renée Zellwegger goes around the whole time with an expression on her face that makes her head look like a red balloon about to pop. Dana Stevens ( wrote that it would have been better if Emily Watson (“Breaking The Waves”) played the lead while Renee played the supporting sister/friend character, but that the economic considerations of star power mandated that the lead go to Ms. Zellwegger. I agree that Emily Watson would have done a better job as the artist/writer. Ewan McGregor plays the publisher of Miss Potter’s illustrated children’s stories, a business relationship with consequent emotions.

Filled with luscious images of a squeaky clean Victorian England with naught but happy, healthy, content servants and peasants serving as background props to the upper middle class characters. These bourgeois protagonists are struggling to resist the class barrier between the parvenu nouveau riche and the up and coming business class.

The film has a very good and still timely political background story about the loss of farmland to housing development. And the pastoral scenes in the Lake District are absolutely gorgeous.

The interactions are very mannered in this old-fashioned romance / coming of age story. Like, totally shades of Merchant/Ivory, and there’s nothing wrong that. No violent social struggles to contend with, but a nice heart-warming tale of a woman in a time of invisible walls, with the luck, talent and fortitude to find a way to make her world answerable to her, to the extent that is possible for anyone. Plus the whimsy of her imaginary life is quite amusing. Except for the treacle flow almost drowning me in bathos about a third of the way through, I was caught up in it.

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