Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Miss Potter (2007) Review

"There's something delicious about writing those first few words of a story.  You can never quite tell where they'll take you."
~Beatrix Potter, Miss Potter 

Sometimes I'm in the mood for a movie that will sweep me out of the here-and-now and transport me to another time and place with vivid characters in a powerful story that will leave me breathless, at the edge of my seat, wishing it wouldn't end.  Movies like Pride and Prejudice, Little Dorrit, The Scarlet Pimpernel and North and South all fit into that category.  But then there are times when I want to watch something quieter and more peaceful, something charming and sweet yet not at all trite.  That's when I watch Anne of Green Gables or Wives and Daughters... or Miss Potter.

If you haven't seen this movie, back off from this review right now, because I spoil things.  Badly.  In fact, when I watched Miss Potter a few weeks ago with my sisters Molly and Laura, who had never seen it before, they were hardly surprised by the Big Bad Thing that happened in the second half of the film, "because of the way Amy was acting in the entire first part."  Hee, hee.  My face is an open book, I see.

 Miss Potter is a biopic (read: a movie about a Real Person and Real Events, with some stuff made up) about the life of Beatrix Potter, beloved children's author.  Obviously, some of the scenes in the movie were invented by the screenwriters (see definition of "biopic") but the majority of the story is true to life--so be prepared, folks, it's not necessarily a fairy-tale ending (well, okay, depends on how you look at it. Ahem).

Okay, let's get down to business (no, not to defeat the Huns.  Stop singing that.  Please.  I can't think when people are singing in my ear).  Renee Zellweger (no, of course I did not have to Google the correct spelling of her name) plays Beatrix Potter, and in my humble opinion she completely nails the role.  (Okay, so she's not British--completely immaterial.)

Love the suit.  The hat, not so much.
One of the things I really loved about Miss Potter was the large number of recognizable actors.  I haven't seen Renee Zellweger in anything else, but I am familiar with Ewan MacGregor (Norman Warne), as many of you probably are too (yep, it's Frank Churchill from Emma 96!).  I liked him a hundred times better in this movie than in Emma--mostly because he's just such a nice guy, but also because he wasn't wearing that dreadful wig that resembled Arby's curly fries.  The mustache, however.... eh, we won't go there.  Let's just say that I like Mr. Warne's character so much that I am willing to forgive the bathtub scrubby brush on his upper lip.

Now this hat is more to my liking.
Norman Warne's sister Amelia (nicknamed Millie, hence the nickname given to me by a dear friend) is probably my favorite character in the entire movie.  At first, I wasn't inclined to like her, thinking "oh, brother, here's another of those women who's all I'm-single-and-I-don't-need-a-man-and-let-me-spout-my-rabid-feminism-to-all-these-stuffy-Victorians."   Ahem.  But I was quickly proved wrong (and was quite happy to be so).  Millie is simply hilarious--and quite quotable.  "You have something to confide?  How delicious!"

Beatrix's coat: cuuuuuute.

Also, her relationship with her brother was so adorable.  You could see how well they got along together and wanted what was best for each other.  I love seeing great sibling relationships like these in movies... I certainly don't blame Jane and Elizabeth Bennet for their dreadful younger sisters, but they aren't all exactly the best of friends.  And you can't say John Thornton and Fanny get along as swimmingly as they might.  And Sir Thomas Bertram's kids... okay, rabbit trail.  Back on track.

If all messy buns looked like that one, I would be prepared to like
messy buns, but nobody seems to do pompadours anymore.
Lucy Boynton, whom you might recognize from her role as Margaret Dashwood in S&S 2008, plays Young Beatrix (Beatrix Jr.? Nah, that sounds odd).  I don't think she looks (or sounds) much like Renee Zellweger, but she's cute and the flashback scenes to Beatrix's childhood are fun.  Especially the old nurse who frightens Beatrix's brother (whose name escapes me--somebody help!) with stories about the wee folk.  "I want one of BEATRIX'S stories! Hers are FUNNY!"

Matching hats.  How... um... sweet.
Barbara Flynn (Mrs. Jamieson in Cranford, Miss Browning in Wives and Daughters) plays Helen Potter, while Bill Paterson (Mr. Meagles in Little Dorrit, Dr. Gibson in Wives and Daughters) plays Mr. Potter, who must have a first name somewhere, but I'm not good with guys' names.  Have you noticed?  I liked Mr. Potter very much, despite his rather frightening mutton chops.  Mrs. Potter was a different story--okay, I know she only wanted what was best for her daughter, but there were times when I was inclined to agree with Millie and say that Beatrix's mothah is a monstah.

Speaking of monstahs, was anyone else severely annoyed by Norman's overbearing older brothers?  Maybe it was just because we all know who this guy is...

Anyways.  Fruing Warne was a meanie.  I did not like him.  (Though I can hardly blame him for being just a little bit of a sourpuss--the poor chap is doomed to go through life with a name like that!)
Moving randomly along...

"When You Taught Me How To Dance" was permanently stuck in my head for about two weeks after seeing that scene.  (Okay, so maybe it wasn't permanently stuck in my head if it only lasted two weeks, but... I didn't ask you.)  I feel as if I'm overusing the words "cute" and "adorable", but they really do fit that part.  The music box playing, the romantic little waltz, Beatrix's awkwardness (awww) and even the watchfulness of Miss Wiggin ("how festive!") all combined to make one of the sweetest scenes in the movie.  I said "one of", not "the" because...

The scene in the train station--oh, my melodramatically romantic heart went into ecstasies.  It was just so sweet--the first time I watched it, I teared up.  The second time, I bawled outright because I knew what was coming.  I believe this may have been what clued my sisters in, but one can never be sure.

Despite the SPOILERS! SPOILERS! sad thing that happened in the second half of the film END SPOILERS! this movie does end happily (well, okay, depends on how you look at it, as previously stated) and I felt warm and fuzzy inside after watching it.  Which is a very nice feeling indeed.  Would I recommend this movie? Indeed.  Is it a tearjerker? Indubitably.  Will you laugh your head off at certain points?  "Ashton's a crack shot!" (No further explanation necessary.)  


Anonymous said...

Amy! Amy! Amy!! I love you! I love you! I love you!! =)

Okay, so seriously, I was laughing my head off during this entire post. I tried to read some of it aloud to my mom, but I was laughing too hard.

Was this the first time you had seen this movie? I stinkin' love this movie. I saw it for the first time several years ago, and I just fell in love with it.

I. Died. Laughing. At. The. Curly. Fries. Comment. Seriously died. I will never recover. I think I'm all right and then I think about it again, and it sets me off once more. *totally immature giggling going on*

But I seriously love Ewan McGregor's role in this movie. Norman is just a sweet, slightly klutzy teddy bear, and a part of me dies inside when the Big Bad Thing happens.

Millie is a delightful character!! "Nonsense. What else is a woman on her own supposed to say?" Like you, I was prepared to not like her at the beginning, but it was quickly revealed that she was just lonely, and I love her now. =) And her relationship with Norman is so stinkin' adorable. A cinematic brother and sister who actually get along! =)

The dancing scene leaves me in raptures every time. It's sooooo sweet. that's just the best word for it. And the train station scene? Eeep!

Thanks for this delightful review!! It makes me want to do another movie review...

Bekah said...

I absolutely ADORE this movie!!! Not to mention the soundtrack just gives you goosebumps!!!

I seriously should create a Youtube playlist with the soundtrack!!!

So I liked your post ;)

Miss Melody said...

(Melody starts reading post thinking she will just sort of scan and not bother commenting right now. Bad Idea.)

Your face is an open book, you see--HAHAHAHAHA. That's hilarious. Because of the way Amy was acting in the entire first part. HAHAHA.

"Love the suit. The hat, not so much." HAHAHA. That sounded modern... but I can forgive you tootuz it MMG.

Aww. When I saw the link 'a dear friend' I was like "Is it gonna be me? Is it gonna be me? Yay! It was me!"
"You have something to confied? How delicious!" --We love that loverly quote with great loveliness, do not we?

Beatrix Junioress. Heeheehee.

Well, *I* like it when siblings match. (I am such a homeschooler. :P) Preferably sisters with sisters and brothers with brothers, though.

Oh, indubitably, the train station scene is wonderfulissimusly romantical. Though--they kiss--and he has a mustache.
Ahem. Sorry. Pet peeve. (Yes, another one. Hush up, can't you?)
I cry during that scene as well, tootuz I know what's coming... *sobs*

Anyways. Lovely review, Millie dear.

(Wouldn't my father like to know...)

Lauren said...

I love this movie!!!

I thought when I went to my dashbored, that I was only going to check for comments, but this post caught my eye, and I was sidetracked.

I actually saw this movie before Emma, and and when I saw Frank Churchill, I had a hard time seeing him as the same guy who played Norman.

Ewan MacGregor plays a MUCH better Norman, then he ever could Frank! That is if he could only get rid of the 'bathtub scrubby brush', You are very hilarious with your descriptions, Amy (or Miss Dashwood).

Anyway, Great movie and I agreed with everything you said.

By the way, you should do a post sometime with all your favourite historical movie costumes. ( :

Just an idea!


Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sarah said...

Yes, and don't forget-"And I, in my turn (snort) will go to Stanhurst (snort)!"

Maria Elisabeth said...

I love this movie. When my parents first introduced it to me I was expecting a boring documentary but I was very pleasantly surprised! The cinematography is also beautiful and her drawing...

But that HORRENDOUS SPOILERS! sad thing that happens in the second half of the movie is so, so sad. Especially when it came from That Individual having a cold most of the summer. That Individual probably got it in the rain when he said goodbye to The Other Individual. *sob*

Molly said...

I loved what you called Mr. Warne's mustache! A "bathtub scrubby brush!"

Jessica said...

Miss Potter is a very enjoyable movie, other than the too sad part. :-( I, too, wept when I watched it the first time.

I quite agree with your opinion on mustaches. Ha

Lauren said...

I love this movie! It's one of my favorites, and like you said, it's sweet and peaceful. I also love how imaginative it is! The little touches of animation are so magical:)

I had read a biography of Beatrix before I saw the film, so I was expecting that one thing that happened.

Anyway, ever since I saw it, I've had a bit of an obsession with Beatrix Potter. I ordered an early edition of one of her books from England pretty much because it was around when she was. Then I got to see some of her paintings in real life! And last time my dad was in England, he brought me a little Peter Rabbit from Harrod's:-)
Oops...long comment!

Hayden said...

Oh, I do like this movie...so much a spent my spare time making a Picnic picture collage of it that I have yet to post :)

I love Ewan Macgregor as Norman. I do NOT like the part where...well, THE part. It makes me Very Upset.

Millie is hyseterical- I didn't think that I'd like her either, but she totally wins one over.

I haven't seen this movie in awhile, and I hadn't seen a lot of bonnet movies before I did, so I didn't realize how many actors I "knew" that we're in it!!! Now I really want to watch it again. (Though Mr. Potter's muttonchops are frightful!!!)

Anonymous said...

First of all, let me just say that I've missed your blog! Being "away" for so long, then I get to see Anne again. : ) Good feeling!!

I LOVE this movie!! Saw it a few years ago - before I'd get all emotional about movies, and, yet, I still got really sad at The Sad Scene in the end! I've wanted to see it again SO bad, and now I REALLY want to see it! Thanks a lot. Now I have to wait to get it from Netflix. : P I think I actually knew that The Really Sad Scene was going to happen because of how he said goodbye to her in The Train Station Scene. (sniffs) Sadness...

Ewan McGregor's Arby's curly fry hair in Emma and his bathtub scrubby brush moustache!! HA!!! You are so funny!!

I also watched this before I was really "into" period dramas, soooo... another reason to watch it again. Now I can recognize all of the actors! (My first reaction to Ewan McGregor was, "Ooh, it's Obi Wan in period clothes!!!" hehehe...)


Miss Dashwood said...

Eeep--- I really should not be so slow in replying to comments!

Awww. I love you too. :D So glad you were amused by the post--I'll admit I was giggling myself sick writing it. I am a sad girl indeed, enjoying my own humor so very much... ah well.
Nope, this wasn't the first time I'd seen it. I saw it first in... 2010, I believe, and then again a few weeks ago with my younger sisters.

Oh, I know, the soundtrack is exquisite!

Yes, well, I use enough old-fashioned terms to get away with a bit of modern phraseology now and again. Of course the dear friend was you. :D
HAHAHAHAHA, yes, it's the homeschooler in you coming out... heehee, I hadn't even thought of that. Actually, I do get a bit annoyed at the stereotypical matching-homeschoolers thing. Heh.

I actually saw this before Emma too, but when I saw it recently, I kept giggling over the whole Frank Churchill thing. :D Ooh, what a good idea about the costumes post! I'll have to file that away for future reference...

(Oh, and by the way, everyone, I removed Lauren's second comment through no fault of Lauren's--she accidentally posted the same thing twice, so I just deleted the second one.)

Miss Dashwood said...

Ooh, yes, love that quote!

Ohhhhhh... good point, but a sad one. *sniff* I nevuh even thought that the cold might have come from the rain scene. How tragic! *sniffle*

Heehee, I giggled about that quite a bit last night as I was writing it. :P

Not all mustaches are dreadful... but this one was. Heehee. Although I must say I'm not usually a fan of them.

Oh, I know, the animation is so sweet! What fun that you have one of her early editions! Which is your favorite of her books? I like "The Pie and the Patty-Pan" best, I think.

That Picnik picture was so gorgeous! Heehee, bonnet movies... I like that term. :D And yes, the muttonchops are really quite scary. So glad that's not in fashion anymore... though when my dad's in a teasing mood (which is most of the time) he has occasionally threatened to grow a pair. :P

Alexandra said...

Darlingest!!!!! I did not know you saw this movie! (Actually, I knew why you were called Millie so IDK why I never thought, duh, she's seen this! Anyway.)


Ewan McGregor...sigh. SOOO Sweet. The Very Bad Thing had me so very upset (in a lovely way since I Love These Kinds Of Stories with a morbid passion) that i could not enjoy The Way the Movie Ended. I was all mad. :-D But I love it sooooo much.

So you probably haven't seen Lorna Doone, but the other brother is off of there. :) So I was like, ahhh! Mr. Collins and Carver Doone's Dad! Anyway. And I adored Mr. Potter and detested Mrs. Potter and LOVED the train scene...and the kiss despite the mustache. SOB. SOB. SOBBBBB...

I was prepared to detest Millie, but I absolutely adore her. She rather reminds me of myself. :-D

Sigh. Love this movie.

Miss Dashwood said...

Yep, seen it twice! LOVE LOVE LOVE. And yes, that's why I'm called Millie. Heeheehee.
*cough* Ilikemorbidlysadendingstoo *cough*
I haven't seen Lorna Doone--would you recommend it?--but I did see the other brother on Little Dorrit, where he played Mr. Merdle (forgot to mention that in the post).
Heehee, Millie reminds me of *my*self at times... I really like her. Tremendously. She was just so comfortable being herself, yet not all, "Ooh, look at me, I'm so different, heads up everybody." :P
Anyways. Love it too.

Miss Melody said...

Modern phraseology is one thing. "Epic" is another. Hahahahaha.
Oh, I get annoyed about people thinking matching clothes is a homeschool stereotype. Actually, I am annoyed by all homeschool stereotypes. :P But I still think matching people can be cute. And anyways, you liked it when Molly and Emily liked to match, did not you? ;P

Alexandra said...


Yes, I would recommend it...if you've seen Wives and Daughters, the hero is Mr. Cox, minus the red hair. :-D I really like it...some of the acting is a tad weak and there's some plot holes, but it's really fun, intense, and the ending is One I Like. So yeah. :-P

Emily said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie!

Bertram, Miss Dashwood, Bertram is his name. Remember what little Beatrix says to him, "Oh, Bertram, you're barbaric!" as they are preparing to go down to say goodnight. Please use this quote to remember, Miss Dashwood, Bertram is the name of the little brother who so affectionately calls his sister "Bee". (is that how you spell it?) I shall be most pleased if I have been helpful to anyone by this ;-)


Kate Fluckiger said...

I know I'm a year behind everyone else here, but I have a question: Are there any parts in this movie that need to be fast-forwarded? In my family, we choose to not watch movies that contain, ahem, bad things, even if we can skip them. I reallyreallyreally want to watch this, but I don't know if I can. Thanks! :)

Miss Dashwood said...

Don't worry, I've been known to leave comments on fou-year-old posts. You are not alone. ;)
The deeeeelightful thing about Miss Potter is that there is absolutely NOTHING I found objectionable! I was comfortable watching it with my ten-year-old sister--there's nothing in it that's too mature for wee ones, either. There's a scene near the end where someone in the crowd supposedly says a very mild "bad word" under his breath (according to IMDb's Parents Guide) but I've never actually heard this so I imagine it can't be that noticeable. I would heartily recommend this movie as a good family film. :D
Thanks for your comment!

Kate said...

I LOVED Miss Potter. :D Thanks so much for your review!