PG for brief mild language
Dec. 29, 2006
Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson, Perdita Weeks, Bill Patterson
MGM Distribution Company
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- Miss Potter is a wonderful portrait of the life and work of Beatrix Potter, the best-selling children's author of all time who created Peter Rabbit. It is one of the best movies of the year.
The movie stars Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter, a winsome, imaginative young woman who has rejected every proposed suitor her mother has thrust upon her. Beatrix is resigned to the fact that she will never marry. Instead of seeking a husband, she finds joy and contentment in her "friends," the little animals that she paints and inserts into her stories and illustrations that she is trying to publish.
When we first meet her, she is talking with a family publishing house run by two stuffy brothers. One of the brothers agrees to publish her book about Peter Rabbit, but he gives the project to their younger brother, Norman, in hopes that Norman will fail and return home to take care of their invalid mother.
Norman, however, sees the beauty and delight in what Beatrix has created. Eagerly and tenderly, he escorts Beatrix through the printing and publishing process. To everyone's surprise, including Norman and Beatrix's, The Tale of Peter Rabbit becomes a complete success and they begin publishing a series of very popular children's stories.
Norman and Beatrix's relationship soon blossoms into romance. Norman proposes to her at her family's Christmas party. Norman's spinster sister encourages Beatrix to say yes. She points out that, even though she has also resigned herself to the fact that she will probably never marry, it would be absolutely foolish to turn down a man's marriage proposal, if, of course, Beatrix truly loves him.
Beatrix accepts Norman's proposal, but her snobbish mother, who has yet to realize that her daughter has become one of England's most famous women, is against the marriage. So is, however, her more supportive father. Can Beatrix convince her parents to accept the proposed marriage, or will she have to defy them and lose her inheritance? What happens next will surprise, delight, and make you weep.
Miss Potter is a pure joy. Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor are absolutely charming and brilliant. Emily Watson as Norman's sister Millie is also superb. Though the story may seem a bit slight to some critics, the movie is morally uplifting, inspiring, and family friendly. The movie extols marriage, the rural life, an innocent approach to life that's full of wonder for God's Creation, and a strong sense of community. During the story, Beatrix expresses concern about preserving the rural farming communities that she loves. Her concern echoes the concern of pro-agrarian Christian conservatives like J.R.R. Tolkein (The Lord of the Rings), Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men), and M.E. Bradfrod, but it is not fully developed in the movie because of limited time.
A few years back, there were a lot of acclaimed female performances touted by the secular media. Few, if any, of those performances were the kind of morally uplifting, Grace-filled, inspiring performances that Movieguide® likes. Most of them appealed to the radical feminist ideology of leftist elites in the mass media. In 2006, however, we saw five great female performances that are a much better match to the high biblical standards that Movieguide® tries to follow – Helen Mirren in The Queen, Naomi Watts in The Painted Veil, Diane Kruger in Copying Beethoven, Keisha Castle-Hughes in The Nativity Story, and now Renee Zellweger in Miss Potter. Thus, 2006 shaped up into what can honestly be called "The Year of the Woman in Film".
Despite whatever good may be found in such movies, however, the Bible says it all the best in Proverbs 31:10-12 and 25-31:
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. . . . She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."
Movies and other art forms can amaze, inspire and equip, but the Bible is the ultimate standard of all that is True, Good and Beautiful. Not even Shakespeare or Michelangelo can measure up to all of its glory.
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Bob and Harvey Weinstein
The Weinstein Company
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NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine. For more information from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org. Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org. The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.
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