Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Arts: Film: Miss Potter

McGregor as Norman and Zellweger as Potter looking over proofs of her great hit, Photo by Alex Bailey

Miss Potter. Director Chris Noonan. Starring Rene Zellweger, Ewan McGregor. Opens January 5th.

By Courtney Nichols

Much like Finding Neverland, Miss Potter is a linear, uncomplicated, kids' movie that does not provoke debates or questions, but rather carefree smiles and an empty mind.

Directed by Chris Noonan (Babe), Miss Potter is a fantastic journey through the author of Peter Rabbit's predictable yet heartwarming life. Renee Zellweger plays the lonely Beatrix Potter whose only companions are her drawings—which speak to her from time to time. This is the only part of the movie I found unique and intriguing.

Norman Warne (played by Ewan McGregor, who can simply stand there and do no wrong) notably illuminates the screen, but is lost alongside Zellweger’s glossy Botoxed cheeks. Emily Watson also excels as the homely Millie Warne who, with the consent of her brother Norman and the friendship of her partner Beatrix, remains single in a world devoid of unmarried women.

Despite the A-list cast and the overwhelming chemistry between Zellweger and McGregor (first exhibited in Down with Love), the script is hum-drum and the ending melodramatic, so much so that even a backdrop of adorable farm animals cannot save the movie from becoming a banal homage to love lost and regained. Undoubtedly, the script is sickeningly cute and the creation of the beloved children’s tales conjures up memories, but any movie that ends with cheap character follow-ups needs to be tossed into the made-for-TV pile.

Miss Potter is perfect for the awkward ages between five and nine, and for those that are sick of having to think through a film. But for rest of us, this flick can surely be missed.

Rating: Can Renee even smile without squinting her eyes?

Potter at work, Photo by Alex Bailey

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