Miss Potter – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

The Weinstein Company presents Miss Potter. Written by Richard Maltby Jr. 93 minutes. Rated PG for brief mild language.

Directed By:

Chris Noonan

Cast:

Renée Zellweger. .Beatrix Potter
Ewan McGregor. Norman Warne
Emily Watson. Millie Warne
Lloyd Owen. William Heelis

The Film:

Seeming to take a page from Finding Neverland, Miss Potter is the whimsical tale of children’s author Beatrix Potter. Zellweger’s performance of Miss Potter seems to merely to transport her Bridget Jones character back to the early 1900’s. The addition of McGregor as the quirky charming love interest elevates the film a little but ultimately Miss Potter is a safe harmless film that would be okay to watch with your Grandmother.

This story of Beatrix Potter is an interesting one. In a time when women in high society were merely expected to marry, Potter wanted more from life. Painting and coming up with stories since she was as child, she was able to publish her first book The Tale Of Peter Rabbit to much success. Struggling against the expectations of society and her parents Potter struggled to succeed in the career of her dreams.

If only the film were that interesting. Zellweger plays the whimsically odd Potter who talks to her drawings and refers to them as her friends. One wonders if the real Potter was like this or if it was something thrown into the film to make it more memorable. When she goes to get her book published they only humor her because their quirky brother Norman (McGregor) wants to join the family business and they feel this will keep him busy. Norman and Beatrix hit it off famously and the rest, as they say, is history.

Where the film really lags is in the almost complete lack of conflict. The film starts with Potter finding a publisher so there’s no conflict there. The only clash really comes from Potter’s stuffy mom who doesn’t approve of what she’s doing. In fact that’s the only thing that separates the nice characters from the mean ones. Potter, Norman, and Norman’s sister Millie (Watson) are all very quirky unique people, while Norman’s brothers and Potter’s mom are very stuffy. It’s this near void of conflict that prevents the film from reaching the levels on enjoyment that it otherwise could have.

The only visually interesting thing going on in this film is Potter’s imagination. As she makings her paintings they come to life in well animated albeit short segments. Of course she’s the only one who can see this happening. This device is used only a few times and borders on either being used not enough or too much. Had the animation played a larger role in the picture it might have given the film some much needed substance. However it’s used so little one begins to wonder why they even bothered doing it at all. In fact, that statement could be applied to the feature itself.


Beatrix attempts to rescue one of her drawings from her own imagination.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1. For Chris Noonan’s first directorial outing since Babe he brings very little to the table. I can only imagine the animated bits where his idea, and probably the best part of the film. The transfer, however, is very good.

The Audio:

The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. This film has a very melodramatic score that actually works for the film. The sound in this film is actually really good. Well, something in the film had to be.

Extras:

Director Commentary: While Chris Noonan has a few interesting things to say, this is a rather boring commentary that might only be interesting for someone who really loves this film.

The Tale Of Peter Rabbit And Beatrix Potter: This is a ridiculously boring documentary that sheds no new light on Beatrix Potter. It’s also filled with really lame reenactments of Beatrix doing her painting.

The Making Of A Real-Life Fairy Tale: This is an above par making-of that starts with everyone patting each other on the back and talking about how magical the whole thing is. However, once they past themselves this becomes a rather in-depth making of.

“When You Taught Me How To Dance” performed by Katie Melua Music Video: Why, God, why? This is a bad, bad, bad video.

Trailer

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Miss Potter
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

6.5
THE VIDEO

9
THE AUDIO

9
THE EXTRAS

2
REPLAY VALUE

2
OVERALL
4.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
Miss Potter is yet another lackluster biopic that tells a very safe version of her life. Top that off with mostly mediocre special features and you’ve got a DVD that might be worth renting.