09 January, 2007

run, don't walk, to "Miss Potter"

Truly, this movie has something for everyone! First off, I apologise for any skepticism I might have felt for Renee Zellweger (I know that's a load off her mind). I think I was influenced by never having seen her in a film, just in crazy People magazine having got divorced from someone she'd been married to for about six minutes.

But she was magical! Quite a perfect English accent, very quirky and vulnerable. And Emily Watson was her usual incandescent self (in fact would have made a very believable Beatrix Potter herself), and the wonderful, changeable Anton Lesser had a small but excellent performance as one of the Warne brothers who published the original Peter Rabbits.

The most wonderful thing? The drawings come to life! Not in a creepy Disney way, but just the drawings themselves, hopping around and being charming. And lovely inspired shots of London in 1902, as well as the Lake District where Beatrix Potter eventually saved 4000 acres of countryside from developers and gave it to the British people. I was so pleased: Avery immediately got the connection between what Beatrix was doing, and what our wonderful neighbors in Connecticut have done with the Land Trust that includes our little farmhouse.

And the topper is that Frederick Warne publishers had their offices in... Bedford Square! Oh, how John's eyes lit up: his beloved Bedford Square (not that we can ever really afford the building he's dying to buy there). "See," I hissed to Avery, "something for everyone. Real estate."

Anyway, I cannot imagine anyone being stalwart enough to get through this film without crying. Except... my child. "How can you be so hard-hearted?" John asked. "Well," she said, "there were tears in my heart, but I did not cry them." This is, we concluded, because she does not have children of her own. Because really the movie is about fathers and daughters, in the loveliest possible way. Watching the little girl who plays the young Beatrix inspired Avery to ask about acting school yet again, so I've finally got organised and sent in her application to the Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marylebone. I cannot imagine that there is any trick to the drama trade that Avery couldn't teach herself, but I could be wrong.

So go. Take your mother. Take your daughter. Take them both! And take a tissue.

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