Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ms Potter

I lopped off the top of a seedless cucumber and said to FD, "Let’s eat and watch Miss Potter." (2006, directed by Chris Noonan, written by Richard Maltby Jr.)

I had taken it out for the kids.
Y thought R would like it but they left Chicago without touching the DVD. This branch of the tree watches little if any television when visiting the 'rents.

"It's a 2 day rental and Blockbusters is already spleening me," I nagged. "Come on, sit with me. Just a little."

Ugh, I believe was the reply. I have to get up early. Early for FD is earlier than for the rest of us and it was already after 10.

I stuck in the disk and moments later he sat down to watch along with Little One (18yrs old, 6’4”, 145 pounds soaking wet). The three of us sunk into the sofa with salad and tuna melts on rye waiting out the previews, commenting on how he and his dad are mostly leg, especially the younger version.

It’s bizarre like that, attending to the oddest things about your kid's genetics, as if discovering them for the first time, things like BMI (body-mass-index). He's home for the summer.

Of all of us, if anyone prefers clean media, it's this guy. So how could he resist Miss Potter?

How could anyone?

Well, if you need a nap, the movie is perfect. Very slow, extremely boring. 92 minutes and not a single act of violence (oh, a little verbal, I guess). And almost no plot. The plot summary at IMDb (I go there for credits) is empty, seriously. No one's filled it in.

But the pictures! Beatrix's pictures of Peter Rabbit and his friends! They’re just as I remembered them. I know that my mother read the rabbit books to me, and that Tales of Peter Rabbit was a grade school reader in my day. I imagine that now kids learn to read by computer.

And I know that I read Tales to my kids. But how is it that the entire wonderment of that simply got lost under the radar when I posted about children’s books just the other day?

It just did.

Miss Potter is a feminist movie and reminds us that women have worked for over a century to challenge the status quo, to become more than wives and mothers, home makers and socialites.

Beatrix, an unmarried woman in her 30’s, has a well-defined artist's identity even as a very young child. Her very difficult relationship with her mother, a woman we might consider to be the opposite of Lindsay Lohan or Brooke Shield's supportive stage moms, provides the only real conflict in the story.

Beatrix had to be her own agent, bucking social mores of her class to approach a publishing house in London. She didn’t go anywhere without an escort and dating without parental approval in the early 1900s was social suicide. Marriages were supposed to be arranged.

Of course that never happened in Beatrix's case.

The magic of the movie, however, has nothing to do with any of that. It happens as she sees her art come to life. Her rabbits, ducks and frogs are her friends. They have feelings and problems and as the ink leaves the pen, they jump off the page, but only momentarily so we wonder, Did that happen? Am I dreaming? Is she?

That’s how creativity happens for certain artists. A thought comes alive, only momentarily at first, a flash of whatever it is that needs to be said, and then it's colored in and all at once, it's beautiful.

FD and Little One watched the whole thing. I only nodded off once in awhile. It’s worth the 92 minutes of Renee Zellweger, I think, even if you tend to wander off a little down the garden path.

Copyright 2007, therapydoc


Michelle said...

I absolutely adore that film! Really, I watched it over and over again. It is so impressive how she is able to make her own way despite her family, has her own money and still allows herself to be soft and in love. Plus the animals always make one smile.

therapydoc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
therapydoc said...

t is pretty wonderful,and inspiring.
I forgot to mention that she had a 3rd life, according to FD, in land conservation. If you've ever toured around England then you know how beautiful the country is. She bought a lot of it to keep it that way.

therapydoc said...

One more thing, I doubt if Ms. Potter had been African American or any other ethnic that she'd have been allowed into publisher's domain. But I could be wrong.

Dr. Deb said...

I haven't seen the movie yet. I look forward though!!

Meg Moran said...

I haven't seen it yet either but I sure want to! I will always have a soft spot for Tom Kitten and of course the Puddle Ducks.

come running said...

I loved the movie, and her imagination and determination. Wrote a poem about it.

Better Things-- Seeing Ghosts