Thursday, February 08, 2007

Movie Review: Miss Potter

Last week I had the opportunity to see the delightful film, “Miss Potter.” Miss Potter is the story of the author of Peter Rabbit and other well-known children’s stories. Beatrix Potter not only wrote the stories, but painted the illustrations herself. She was also unusually involved in overseeing just how the books were put into print. Her children’s books became the best selling children’s books in history. And, Beatrix Potter also became a major conserver of farmland in the lakes district of northwestern England.

The film is a picture of a large portion of Miss Potter’s life. It is essentially a biographical film. It contains tragedy and sadness as well as triumph and success. It also has a great deal of humor and romance. The acting in the film is excellent and Renee Zellweger does an outstanding job of portraying the endearing but somewhat eccentric Miss Potter. The costuming, scenery, furniture and locations are also done with care and perfection. It gives us a window into the whole Victorian world with its odd class system and opportunities.

The movie is not really a children’s film because of the subtle sophistication of the humor and story and the presence of great tragedy. There is also a possibility that children will misunderstand and misapply a “carpe diem” (seize the day) lesson from the film. This film is extraordinary in that it contains nothing that is really bad or objectionable compared to the vast majority of modern films. It is exactly the sort of film that Christians are always saying people should make (apart from its not containing any overt elements of faith or Christianity). It is a sweet, delightful movie and I really congratulate everyone involved with it on their courage in making such a wonderful film and not trying to add strange, post-modern elements to it. There are a couple of moments that I think people might attempt to misinterpret and use to insert their own notions. But they are moments that are certainly possible in the Victorian world and would not have carried any extra baggage at that time. They would have simply been innocent and natural.

The film also involves a kind and gentle father and a mother who is overly ambitious for her daughter’s social standing. The film is a true-to-life depictions of the world in which Miss Potter lived.

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