In an odd piece of miscasting, Renee Zellweger plays British children's book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter as she goes from obscurity, living with her privileged but closed-minded parents, to celebrated literary figure and land conservationist. Guiding the formulaic biopic proceedings is director Chris Noonan ("Babe") emphasizing the doomed romance of Potter's love affair with her publisher Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor) whose tie-wearing sister Millie (Emily Watson) also has a crush on Beatrix. Although the movie is strictly by the numbers, Noonan captures Potter's difficult early 20th century social milieu that she penetrated by way of her gifted imagination for the farm life of the English Lake District before her death in 1943. The movie is made to measure for mothers, aunts and grandmothers who would share Potter's books, such as "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," with tikes of any generation.
Rated PG. 92 mins. (B-) (Three Stars)