Some people are so in love with the place where they were born that they never leave the homestead. Others search here and there throughout their lives, looking for the milieu that touches body, mind, and soul. When they find that special spot that speaks to their soul, they remember that a place can be a sacred trust.
Miss Potter is a delightful and engaging movie about the power of place upon the world's most famous writer of children's books. The drama is written by Richard Maltby Jr., and directed by Chris Noonan who was last at the helm of the immensely popular Babe (1995). The biopicture about Beatrix Potter (1866 - 1943) was filmed in Cecil Court, Covent Garden, the Isle of Mann, and the Lake District in Great Britain.
Even as a little girl of ten, Beatrix Potter (Lucy Boynton) is a great storyteller whose brother sometimes asks for her stories instead of those from books. She considers animals to be some of her best friends and is a careful observer of their behavior. Her father, Rupert (Bill Patterson), who once wanted to be an artist himself, lavishes praise on his daughter's drawing skills, but her social-climbing mother (Barbara Flynn) does not approve of her interests. By the time Beatrix (Renee Zellweger) is in her thirties and has rejected every suitor presented to her, her mother concludes she will never marry.
Beatrix is overjoyed when she finds a publisher for her story The Tale of Peter Rabbit which she has illustrated with very fine watercolor drawings. The two brothers who run the firm give this project to their inexperienced younger brother, Norman (Ewan McGregor), who wants to try his wings as an editor. He becomes an ardent supporter of Beatrix's work and in the process of fine-tuning the little book falls in love with her. Beatrix is delighted to accept his proposal but finds resistance from her parents who are both against her wedding a tradesman.
Astonished at how well The Tale of Peter Rabbit does in the marketplace, Beatrix and Norman plan a series of other children's books. She becomes close friends with his sister Millie (Emily Watson), who is an outspoken and eccentric woman who has vowed not to marry and to live a life of adventure on her own.
The Potter family rented a summer house in the English Lake District for most of Beatrix's childhood. When she discovers that her books have made her financially independent, she buys her own farm there. In the opening voice-over narration in the movie, Beatrix marvels at the delicious experience of writing the first words of a story, never quite knowing where they would take her. For her, the Lake District is not only an inspiration, it is a sacred place to be protected. With the help of a solicitor who was a childhood friend, Beatrix buys more farms and tracts of land, protecting them from developers interested in replacing open vistas with hundreds of homes. In her will, Potter left all of her property to the National Trust 4,000 acres of land. Now that's an impressive testament to the way in which a love of place can lead to great things!