Beatrix Potter was a bestselling author in an age before bestselling authors were rock stars. She made a lot of money, but her Mother never really understood how or why. Her mother was a wonderful Victorian relic that looked down on all tradesman, which included publishers and lawyers.
Miss Potter stars Renee Zellwegger as Beatrix Potter well on her way to Spinsterhood and well past her sell by date. Her parents are kind to her, but also want her to marry a ‘good man’ and get on with her life of having children and managing a household of her own.
Miss Potter concerns itself with the story of how Beatrix Potter sold her first books and became rich and famous. It is a wonderful film with lots of great costumes and unrequited love and the brilliant and colorful illustrations that made Peter Rabbit and his friends so successful. Looking at the artwork of Beatrix Potter it is shocking that most children’s books now have almost no artistic merit in comparison. I grew up reading Dr Seuss, whose illustrations might be called art in the same way that Picasso’s paintings may be called art-but they are a completely different animal from Beatrix Potter and Claude Monet.
Artistic merits aside, Miss Potter is the standard story of an artist turned away by every publisher she approaches-only to be excepted as a project for a publishers little brother who want to enter the business. They expect the books to sell maybe ten copies and teach their brother a lesson about how hard the publishing business can be. Instead Peter Rabbit sales very well indeed and all the small books that follow sell very well.
The inexperienced publisher and the inexperienced author fall in love, but they are not allowed to marry as he is a tradesman too far beneath Beatrix Potter to even be considered. The standard tragedy occurs and the star crossed lovers are not to be together. But our young publisher set the course for Beatrix Potter to be wealthy beyond her wildest dreams-not that she appears to have any dreams of wealth in Miss Potter. Her parents have provided for her every need and she is shocked when she finally talks to a banker and discovers how much money she has in the bank.
With near limitless funds she buys the now famous Hill Top farm and sets off on the next chapter of her life as a conservationist and naturalist. She wanted to be a scientist when she was young, but being a girl, was turned away. The film ends with her buying up land in the Scottish Lake District and protecting the wilderness from greedy developers.
This was a fun film with a lot heart warming moments and lots of cute little tricks with the rabbits, ducks, and other animals that inhabit the magical world of Beatrix Potter.