Sunday, June 1, 2008

Miss Potter-- DVD- Review

I watched the film, Miss Potter starring Rene Zellwegger as Beatrix Potter, and Ewan McGregor as Mr. Warne. I really enjoyed the film because I happen to really like her childrens books. Peter Rabbit the book she is most famous for sold over 40 million copies. When Beatrix Potter was a child, she had two pet rabbits, the first was Benjamin, and the second was Peter.

The film has a magical quality much like a fairytale. But, then Beatrix Potter's story is very much like a Victorian fairytale. Large portions of the film were shot on the Isle of Man. This means the cinematography and backgrounds were quite beautiful. You have rolling hills, forests, quaint villages, gardens, and old fashioned Victorian houses as the backdrop.

The story is at once tragic and at the same time uplifting. Ewan McGregor does an excellent job as Mr. Warne, the gentleman who first helps Miss Potter get her book published. He dies as they become engaged. The film is a more than a little stuffy in explaining their romance. They barely kiss. If you look at the actors cast as Beatrix Potter's parents, they look very similar to the photographs of her childhood. The film appears to be historically accurate.

There are numerous small animations of her childrens characters, including Jemima Puddleduck, Tom Tittlemouse, and Peter Rabbit. They come alive for brief moments in the film. These are very slight animations. Maybe, their ears move, or their eyes, or a frog hops about. Beatrix Potter was a mycologist and wrote numerous tracts on fungi.

This is also a story of a woman becoming independent. Beatrix Potter moved away from her family's house after she learned that she had a small fortune from selling her books. This allowed her to buy numerous small farms. Although, this wasn't shown in the film, she was famous for raising sheep. It did show her meeting William Heelis who helped her purchase her country properties and later married her.

I really enjoyed the film. Many people will find it stuffy and excessively proper, but that is how much of Victorian times was. There are tea parties, Miss Potter gets followed around by an old lady to make sure she is acting properly, and her father and mother try and marry her off to appropriately rich upper class people which she refuses to do.

Beatrix Potter's real life story is quite uplifting. The final screenshot where she leaves 4,000 acres of farmland to the British national trust to turn into parks is quite uplifting.

The DVD includes a documentary about the life of Beatrix Potter, and a film on the making of Miss Potter. It also includes some truly awful trailers of other films which are well worth skipping

I decided to do something a bit different this morning and review a film on an author. I am not sure if I should do this again with Finding Neverland starring Jonny Depp as J.M. Barrie author of Peter Pan. The film did not do too well in American markets, but did alright in world markets. I think it is more of an artistic statement than a mainstream film.

No comments: