"Miss Potter" is the story of the woman who created Peter Rabbit. How she broke out of convention and achieved success in her talents at a time when most women fussed about gloves and fish forks. There is a love, and a splendid country retreat. There are pretty costumes and amusing characters. And there are odd little introductions of animated characters that tangle us up in the world of imagination.
It's a sweet, wispy film that's as finely drawn as Beatrix Potter's illustrations. That is: some color, good outlines, zesty characters, plenty of rich detail...but not extreme in any of these.
I'd actually say this is one of my favorite films, not necessarily like one of the great classics, nor like a deeply contemplative impressionistic arthouse flick.
I enjoyed it thoroughly because it kept a light tone and left me feeling more joyful, more capable, more fortunate when I left the theater than when I entered. I cared about Miss Potter, I cared about her dreams and her chance at life. So this film did what films are supposed to do--it made me enter a different wonderful world, and while I was there, changed something about me, so that I see my world a little differently.
Please don't let the fact that Renee Zellweger is the lead actress stop you. I felt a slight anti-Hollywood blockbuster aversion rising up in myself. This is one role where Renee actually feels unstilted and unmanufactured. Perhaps another actress could have been sublime, but she carries off Miss Potter's quirks, insecurity and brave steps quite well.