flopsy, mopsy, cotton-tail, and peter

As a child, one of my all time favourite books included the tales of Peter Rabbit and his friends, by Beatrix Potter. My parents were fans of the "Easter present," and so a white hard-covered collection of the stories was my gift the spring I was seven years old. The tome fit on my lap when I sat up in bed, and I would read the adventures to myself or aloud to my brother.

And so, I had high hopes for Miss Potter, the film released this month to tell the author's story.

(Don't worry, the mini-review to follow does not include any spoilers.)

Real lives are hard to illustrate on the silver screen. At best, fitting a real person's life into the context of a greater story can be extremely rewarding -- see 2002's The Hours.

At worst.... well, let's remember real lives are boring. My life, translated to the big screen, would be painful. Especially if the screen writers chose not to emphasize any single story line, any single climax or struggle, or any bit of character development.

In fact, if the screenwriters decided to turn my life into a bizarre upside-down quest for marriage masquerading as the tale of one woman's pursuit of independence, perhaps they would end up with Miss Potter. Without the period clothing. And with more pairs of shoes.

Alas, even Ewan McGregor could not save this movie. And I happen to believe Ewan McGregor's voice, eyes, face and wonderful talent could save anything. Especially those expression-filled eyes that dance and sing and light up an entire film, even the bad bits outside turn-of-the-century train stations....

Of course, Ewan McGregor could not save Down with Love. Perhaps he and Renee Zellweger should avoid each other. Forever.

2007 has lots of opportunities to prove to me the lives of authors on the big screen can be interesting, however. I'm crossing my fingers for Becoming Jane and Bronte.

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