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Miss Potter

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Miss Potter Movie Poster Image
More about social pressure than Peter Rabbit.
  • PG
  • 2006
  • 92 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters are utterly well behaved, though Beatrix does resist her parents' desire that she marry within her class when she falls in love with Norman.


Grief is expressed when a central character dies unexpectedly (the death occurs off screen).


Discussion of proper behavior for an unmarried woman; some embarrassed dancing and gentle kissing between the central couple.


Very mild: A background character refers to a "rich bastard," and another declares her own ideas about the joys of single womanhood to be "hogwash."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking; one character passes out from drunkenness (this is treated as comedy and subversion of a mother's will).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, while this film focuses on Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter's career and classic children's books, it's really aimed more at adults than kids (and the younger set will probably prefer the books). It deals with some mature themes, including the death of a loved one and disagreements between an adult child and her parents. Beatrix's mother repeatedly denigrates her desire to paint and tell stories; although her father is more encouraging, parents and child also disagree over Beatrix's choice for a husband. When a protagonist dies suddenly (off screen, from an illness), survivors show grief. Some characters drink socially, and one drinks to the point of passing out (this is treated as comedy).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTeacupmama November 15, 2009

Great gentle period movie

A delightful clean sweet movie Nice story my daughter and I enjoyed watching together 2xs
Adult Written bycaroh April 9, 2008

a beautiful film for all ages - especially young girls

Gorgeous scenery, a gentle, sweet, sincere love story, and an unconventional, inspirational heroine make this film one of the best I've seen in some time.... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byinspiration-bg April 9, 2008

A Sweet Film

This is just a sweet little film, nothing overly dramatic or mellow. It was a nice change from the usual Hollywood film, I enjoyed the film, it is definitely wo... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byemoqueen17 April 9, 2008

i loved it and so did my kids

my kids and i loved it and we've read it everynite since we've gotton it

What's the story?

Set in the early 1900s, MISS POTTER offers a fictionalized life of famous Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter as she pursues a career as a children's book author and illustrator. Beatrix's whimsical ducks in bonnets and bunnies in brass buttons (which appear as animations) represent her feelings -- most often mild defiance or frustration at her parents' hopes that she'll marry a man within their class. Eager to publish a storybook with gentle watercolor illustrations, Beatrix (Renée Zellweger) meets with publishers and is assigned to earnest underling Norman (Ewan McGregor). The two go on to create a series of books. Beatrix also befriends Norman's sister Amelia (Emily Watson). But while she enjoys her new relationships, she must contend with social expectations, as embodied by her generous, mustachioed father, Rupert (Bill Paterson), who tends to give in to the wishes of her sterner mother, Helen (Barbara Flynn).

Is it any good?

Pleasant and unadventurous, Miss Potter makes it clear that Beatrix became a conservationist in her later years, using her earnings to purchase land and preserve wildlife habitats. Yet the film tends to stifle its heroine's energy rather than explore it. In part, this effect is a function of Zellweger's chirpy performance, but it's also a matter of plot: Despite her seeming independence, Beatrix is shaped by supporting characters, from her oppressive mother to the kind solicitor (Lloyd Owen) who helps her recover from tragedy. You keep waiting for her to break out, to match the giddy passion shown by Amelia, but she doesn't.

McGregor's energetic delivery of dialogue is delightful. Miss Potter suggests that Norman is a good match for Beatrix, and their very proper flirtations are quite charming, as is Beatrix's enthusiastic intimacy with Amelia

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the conflict Beatrix feels between the expectations others have for her (to be a proper wife to a man of her class) and her own ambitions (writing and illustrating books). How is her dilemma shown in the movie? How do her parents respond differently to her decisions? How does her romance with Norman help "smooth over" the potential abrasiveness of her career ambitions? What effect (if any) do modern opinions about feminism and achievement have on the way the story is told?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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