Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Miss Potter starring Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and Emily Watson

Miss Potter with Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor
Miss Potter is a movie which every time I watch it, I am surprised by how much I love it.  I mean, as I am pulling it off the shelf, I always think why didn't they get a Brit to play Beatrix Potter, and then after I watch it, I am quite happy with Renee's performance!  Zellweger and McGregor have great chemistry and the twinkle in his eye as he helps her to get her "Bunny Book" published is adorable. I always tear up at a "certain part" of the film-no spoilers here.

Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger at the printers in Miss Potter
Ewan McGregor is one actor I would love to see a lot more of, as he seems to be truly having fun with this role and really becomes Norman Warne. Emily Watson is wonderful as Norman's sister Millie...she and Zellweger's Beatrix Potter really seemed to give a lovely modern feminist feel to the film. The Edwardian period is one of my favourites anyway as it has such energy and excitement as the new century begins.

Millie and Beatrix in Miss Potter- "Men are only good for two things. Financial support and procreation!"
Barbara Flynn and Bill Paterson are perfect as Beatrix's London social climbing parents. I love Bill Paterson as a father figure especially in Wives and Daughters, but he is just as adorable in this film. Barbara Flynn is hilariously controlling in this film (when she kicks the chair of Miss Wiggin I always laugh out loud!) and she is also a fave of mine from both Wives and Daughters and Cranford.  And I have to admit that until I saw the film again last night, I didn't realize that Emma Thompson's mother, Phillida Law, played Norman and Millie's delightful mother Mrs. Warne.  For Pride and Prejudice lovers, David Bamber, alias Mr. Collins, plays Norman's elder brother Fruing Warne.

Filming Miss Potter at Derwent Water in the Lakes District

The Lakes district was used extensively in the outdoor scenes, which are crucial to the wonderful feel of this film. It is appropriate that they were able to use the real Lakes District as Beatrix Potter is partly responsible for the fact that they are so well preserved today. She donated over 4,000 acres of land to the National Trust on her death and her actual home Hill Top Farm, is now a Beatrix Potter shrine with thousands of visitors annually (including The Squire and I in 2009). Beatrix Potter is so popular in Japan, that the day we were there, they had a Japanese tour guide specifically for the many Japanese tourists who arrive there every day. Although Hill Top Farm has many visitors each year, it is kept quite pristine and untouched save for the ever present gift shop.

Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, Cumbria, UK
If you are going to the Lakes District and want a real Potter experience, the house used for Hill Top during filming Miss Potter is now a bed and breakfast with fabulously up to date rooms. Here is the link to Yew Tree Farm in Coniston in the Lakes District. I'd love to put my photos from the Lakes District on this post, but it will take me an extra 2 days to find them! I am such a techno peasant! If I can locate them, I'll add them soon. It will make you want to go if you haven't before. My fave spots were Keswick and Grasmere.

Anyway, if you haven't seen this one, do see it. If you haven't seen it in a while, it's worth seeing again, especially if you are in that certain mood for a lovely quiet, sweet film with some great eye candy (of a few different kinds!)
Peter Rabbit with that naughty look on his little bunny face
Norman Dalziel Warne and his nephew, ca. 1900
OK, I couldn't resist adding this when I responded to Mel Mel below. Isn't that an adorable face? No wonder she fell in love ---ooops! Spoiler!


  1. I love this film! I never knew that much about Beatrix Potter - I, probably like many, thought she was just the writer of the Peter Rabbit books. I was so surprised to see what all she accomplished in her life. After seeing this movie, I read just about every book about her that I could find! She's truly an inspiration to every woman. I may just pull this film out of my bookcase and watch it tonight! Thanks for the reminder! :-)

  2. Hi Mel Mel,

    Yes, she was a pretty cool lady! I hope her marriage was happy. Hard to find out much about that. The actor who played William Heelis in the film (Lloyd Owen) was very cute anyway!

    Speaking of which, there is an absolutely adorable photo of the real Norman Warne on Wikipedia, for anyone who is interested. He is with his nephew and has a mischievous grin on his face. He looks a lot like Ewan McGregor too!

  3. I now have to go watch this again...I loved it (and cry every time) as well :)

  4. I'm so glad that you all love it too. It is really great that these kind of films get made, but I guess if we keep watching and buying them, then the powers that be will keep them coming!

  5. I was surprised at how much this film affected me! I too was unaware of Potter's history and thought the film struck a great balance of being both a biopic and a totally charming tale!

    Btw, that image of Norman does look like Ewan! (Or rather Ewan looks like him!)

  6. I saw this movie with no expectations, what so ever. Now it is one of my favourites movies of all time. I loved the way the drawings came to live. It is a beautiful story filled with magic. Zellweger is doing an amazing job as Potter, and McGregor is adorable as always. This is an absolutely must see!

  7. @Anonymous- It never ceases to amaze me that a film like this is still so unknown. It is one of my faves too and one I pull out when I need comfort. I call them migraine movies and this is one of the best when I am feeling either ill or sad. Always a bit of a cry at the end of this one!




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