Sunday, January 28, 2007

Miss Potter

I Want See

Possibly the JK Rowling of her time, Beatrix Potter is the author of the beloved children's book The Tale of Peter Rabbit, amongst other best selling classics which you might have read as a child. Not only does she dream up and write the stories, she does the illustrations as well, which are actually quite beautiful in its simplicity. Most of them, after all, are based on animals, and her painted illustrations augment her narrative text really well.

The titular role is played by Renee Zellweger, last seen in Cinderella Man, and the story picks up from the time where Miss Potter is trying to look for a publisher willing to take on the first-mover risk and give her stories a go. It's like a quick summarized biography of sorts, with constant flashbacks to her past, to the beginnings of the source of her inspiration, as well as her current challenges in publishing. Not until she meets up with a relative rookie to the business, Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor), who believes in her work, and is also looking at opportunities to prove that they know what they're doing, and that against popular opinion, they do have a winner in their hands.

Miss Potter is about her life and love, and naturally from their constant interactions at the business front, they inevitably fall in love. This is another collaborative effort between McGregor and Zellweger (the first being Down With Love in 2003), and they play lovebirds here in the early 20th century, where social conduct, prim and properness are in order, and they can't date openly without a chaperon in tow. Emily Watson completes the main cast as Norman's sister Millie, who cliques with Beatrix as she too cannot understand unfair social norms imposed, as well as the necessity of those times for women to get married, or be left on the shelf as an old maid.

Possibly this year's Finding Neverland, the movie does take opportunity to discuss these social norms, and of class and attitudes within classes. That women of high standing cannot marry down to "tradesmen", as that will serve to undermine their social status, or even to invite them to parties. Independent thought is frowned upon naturally, and it seems that almost everything negative about social norms of those days, are personified in Beatrix's mother.

But no worries that there is too much talk about the themes. Miss Potter is a rather fluffy and light movie, with picturesque scenes and sceneries, together with lovey dovey moments between the two lovers. There are also moments which allow for animation, and if you're well versed with Miss Potter's works, then you'll anticipate some illustrations coming to life, which adds a level of cuteness to the movie. And the theme song is just as beautiful, a song to slow dance to, called When You Taught Me How To Dance. This is definitely date movie material, though remember please to bring along some tissues.

For those interested to find out more about Beatrix Potter, you can check out this link at wikipedia. But be warned, it has just about everything that the movie will touch upon, so visit only if you absolutely want to know how things will turn out, otherwise you can visit it after you've watched the movie.

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