MISS POTTER is a biography of Beatrix Potter, artist and author of a series of fantasy children's books about rabbits, geese, pigs, and hedgehogs. MISS POTTER was directed by Chris Noon, director of the engaging and beautiful movie, BABE, which concerns a pig. MISS POTTER stars Renee Zellweger, Lucy Boynton (as young Beatrix Potter), Ewan McGregor (Potter's publisher and fiance), Barbara Flynn (as Potter's A-hole mother), and Bill Paterson (as Potter's understanding, wise, and flexible father). This is one of the greatest movies that I've seen in the past 50 years, and I watched it three times in the past three days. If you are an amateur artist, or if you are a published author, then you will absolutely adore this movie.
OPENING MINUTES. The movie begins with images of a small wooden box being opened. Inside are artists' pencils. Then, we see a pair of hands sharpening a pencil with a knife. Then, we see a hand pouring water from a glass (for the purpose of water color painting), and then we see a hand reaching for an artist's brush. Then, we see a hand opening up a water color set (just like the kind I used when I was a kid in the 1960s). Finally, at 1 min, 45 seconds into the movie, we see a hand holding a brush and painting streaks of blue on fancy artists' paper.
ZELLWEGER MAKES HER ENTRANCE. At three minutes, Zellweger says, "There's something delicious about writing the first words of a story, you can never be sure of where they will take you." Then, Zellweger explains her quest to find a publisher of her children's book. "I've been selling my drawings for greeting cards for 7 years," she explains during her interview with a publisher. At 5 min, 30 seconds into the movie, the publisher accepts her book. Zellweger is pleased, of course, and the viewer will be treated to an episode where she twists her lips, flexes her lips, and where her lips move in little grimacing expressions. This is how Zellweger expresses pleasure because of the acceptance of her book. Of course, there are many flabby-lipped actresses, such as Zellweger, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, and the abundantly annoying Anne Hathaway (she often uses a very annoying VOCAL FRY when speaking, and her mouth looks like a frightening monster-mouth, such as that of the Joker in the Batman cartoon). But Zellweger is the only flabby-lipped actress to use her own lips as a tool for expressing emotions. Truly, Zellweger exploits her lips, to good effect, as an organ of expression just as ordinary actors use their hands and eyes to communicate various emotions.
BEATRIX POTTER GETS FLACK FROM PARENTS. At 8 1/2 minutes into the movie, Zellweger is back home (she lives with her parents, even though she's in her early 30s). The movie shows Potter's mother, who has a condescending attitude towards Potter, which continues to the very end of the story. At 9 min, 50 sec, begins the first of several flashbacks, where we see Beatrix Potter as a child. We see excellent sketches of rabbits and other animals, made by the 8-year old Potter. In this first flashback, Potter's father tells the 8-year old girl that her job is to get married and become a homemaker. He says, "something suitable to the young lady who will soon grow up and run a fine home, just like her mother." At 13 minutes into the movie, the flashback concludes, and Zellweger gets a visit at her home from the youngest of the three brothers. Then, the viewer is treated with dialogue about the technical features of the book-printing procedures. Potter's parents give her flack for wanting to visit the printing house, and she confronts them saying, "I see absolutely no reason why an artist shouldn't visit her printer." At 17 minutes, we see a flashback where Potter at age 10 is sketching in her garden, while her brother plays croquet. We see a real hedgehog and a real rabbit meandering in the garden, and Potter and her brother chase the rabbit. At 19 min, 30 seconds, the mother and father both pester the ten year old Beatrix Potter, regarding their expectations that she will some day get married. But the ten year old insists that she not get married. The mother says, "Really Beatrix, what young man is ever going to marry a girl with a face full of mud?" (Beatrix has mud on her dress and face, from chasing the rabbit in the garden.) "Well, I shan't marry it doesn't matter," insists the 10-year old Potter. "Of course you shall marry, all girls marry," says her arrogant and bullying mother. "I did, your grandmother did . . ." continues the arrogant mother. "Well I shan't, I shall draw," insists the ten year old Potter. "Those silly drawings, who will love you," says the A-hole mother, derisively. "My art and my animals, I don't need more love than that," insists the 10 year old Potter.
PRINTING PRESSES. At 21 minutes, we are back at the publisher, and Zellweger is showing her drawings for her Peter Rabbit book. The viewer is treated to some excellent video of printing presses. Zellweger complains about the first color print (this scene occurs in the same room as the printing presses). She complains, "It's muddy." then, the printer adjusts the color to make it lighter. Eventually a love relationship develops between Zellweger and the youngest of the three brothers (he was assigned to her project).
SISTER OF THE THREE PUBLISHER BROTHERS. At 24 minutes into the movie, a sister ("Millie") enters the plot, and she likes Zellweger and exclaims, "I have decided that you and I are going to be friends . . . I warn you, I am prepared to like you very much." The sister and adult Beatrix Potter share the view that there is nothing shameful about a woman staying single. The bit of dialogue that goes, "I warn you, I am prepared to like you very much" struck me as very unusual and clever.
UNATTRACTIVE GEEK EPISODE. At 27 minutes comes an amusing part, where Zellweger's mother reminds her that she had been introduced to several appropriate men of the same social class as Potter's parents. What is amusing, is that we are shown flashbacks of each of the potential husbands (suitors), and they are each disclosed as being an unattractive and disgusting geek. At 30 minutes, another flashback is shown, where the girl Beatrix Potter explains about a stupid duck, and we see her duck drawings. This flashback is part of the main plot where adult Beatrix Potter is showing her publisher her next book, which concerns a duck, and which is called Jemima Puddle Duck.
CONCLUSION. I don't want to give away too much, and so I'm not writing any more. The script and dialogue in this movie, from start to finish, is stunningly clever, unique, and attractive. How I love this movie. The movie is just as suitable for adults as it is for children. Also, there are no guns, no bad words, and no concupiscence. Actually, the movie continually invokes concupiscence, because in all of the scenes where adult Beatrix Potter is in the presence of the young publisher brother, an elderly lady (apparently a servant hired by Potter's parents to be a chaperone) is following close behind.