Australian Council on Children and the Media

Miss Potter

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Short takes

Lacks interest for children under 8, PG over 8 (Themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Miss Potter
  • a review of Miss Potter completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 January 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 The film lacks interest for children under 8 and they are likely to be bored.
Children over the age of 8 Miss Potter is suitable for children over the age of 8 years of age but some children may need parental guidance due to themes.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Miss Potter
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 88 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Miss Potter is the story of Beatrix Potter’s) rise to fame through her creative little tales of the animals she sees as her friends, including Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-duck. 

At a time when women of 32 are expected to be married, Beatrix Potter (Renee Zellwegger is a single woman with a career ambition.  This ambition is challenged by many hurdles as her pictures and stories are deemed silly and childish by her family and the town’s publishers.  She is given her first break by a new publisher Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor) whose abilities are also being challenged.  Warne falls in love with Potter’s little tales and together they successfully publish the books that have become the most well known children’s stories throughout the world.

As Beatrix’s animal friends come to life in popular children’s books, love between Beatrix and Norman also grows.  However their love is overshadowed by parental disapproval and Beatrix seeks solace and encouragement in her new friend Millie, Norman’s sister (Emily Watson).  The love story is marred by tragedy but Beatrix finds happiness in the beauty of the Lake District where she settles. 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death of a loved one, the position of women in society

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is no violence in this movie

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

None of concern.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Older children in this age group may require explanation of scenes involving Beatrix’s separation from, and grief at the death of, her fiance Norman.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children may require explanation of scenes involving Beatrix’s separation from, and grief at the death of, her fiance Norman.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

None of concern.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

None

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Norman attempts to intoxicate Beatrix’s chaperone with sherry, after she has consumed a glass of wine or two, so that he may have a moment alone with Beatrix
  • Throughout the Christmas party held at Beatrix’s parents home, a number of guests are seen to be drinking glasses of alcohol

Coarse language

None

In a nutshell

Miss Potter is a captivating portrayal of the life story of Beatrix Potter which features enchanting animation and scenery. It is a story that will appeal particularly to adults and older children who have loved, and grown up on the Beatrix Potter stories.  Potter’s imagination, passion and determination make her a strong role model, particularly for adolescent girls, as the movie successfully demonstrates the constraints placed on women during this era.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Friendship and love
  • Believing in your dreams
  • Ambition and determination

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of environmental issues as Beatrix becomes involved in land preservation.

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