Miss Potter (PG) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Beatrix Potter actually led a fascinating life, which went beyond her fame as a children's author (she was a pioneering naturalist), but you wouldn't know it from this sweet-toothed and sanitised biopic. Renée Zellweger, pinker and perkier than ever, stars as the sainted Potter who, in defiance of her absurdly straitlaced parents, takes her tale of Peter Rabbit to the publishers.

Having become an unexpected success, she then falls in love with her editor, Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor), only to be blindsided by tragedy. It becomes clear, however, that the film-makers are far less interested in the conflicts of Potter's character and work than in the picturesque opportunities of Edwardian gentility (the costumes are by Anthony Powell) and the Cumbrian countryside that Beatrix Potter did so much to preserve.

The film's target audience is uncertain: the adults will be irked by its tweeness, while the children will not be switching their loyalties from Harry to Beatrix anytime soon.

The only winner, indeed, is the National Trust, whose well-upholstered properties receive a long and reverential advertisement.

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