Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse (TV Movie 2020) Poster

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A little off the usual but a nice way to spend an hour
szweda-1855525 December 2020
Dawn French was made for roles such as this and she is well supported by a varied cast of quality British TV faces notably Bill Bailey for a cute interlude with young RD. I think that it managed its intentions well enough with a balance of humour and the darker side of BP and her animal world. We used to have these books and the kids enjoyed them at bedtimes so it was a little trip down memory lane. Also liked the reminder of how this wonderful woman did so much for one of the most scenic parts of the UK. We have much to thank her for. All in all not a waste of your time when xmas fare on TV is seldom the best of the year.
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One of the Better Festive Offerings
JamesHitchcock4 January 2021
This is the second of two films about the life of Beatrix Potter to have appeared in recent years. The first, "Miss Potter", dealt with the early part of her career as a writer and with her romance with her publisher, Norman Warne, a romance tragically cut short by his early death. In "Roald and Beatrix" she is now in her fifties, a successful children's writer living on a Lakeland farm with her lawyer husband William Heelis.

The "Roald" of the title is another famous children's writer, Roald Dahl, although in 1922 when the film is set he was still only a child of six years old himself. The story (apparently a true one) tells of how Dahl, grieving over the recent deaths of his father and sister and rebelling against his mother's plan to send him to boarding school, ran away from the family home in Cardiff intending to make his way to the Lake District to visit his favourite author. His mother followed him, but instead of preventing him from making the journey agreed to accompany him. The film tells the story of what happened when the two met.

Potter is played by Dawn French as a formidable if rather absent-minded old lady, surprisingly unsentimental for someone who made a living writing stories about talking bunny-rabbits; there is a thread running throughout the narrative about her attempts to kill a goose for dinner. (The story takes place over the Christmas holidays). Another plot thread deals with a young woman whom Potter's publishers have sent in order to pass on some suggestions as to how Potter might "improve" her literary style, suggestions that she treats with disdain. The full title, "Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse", refers to this emissary's suggestion that Potter should rewrite the scene in the nursery-rhyme in which the farmer's wife cuts off the tails of the three blind mice, which she claims is excessively cruel. (Did, I wonder this scene actually take place in 1922, a less sentimental period than our own, or was it the scriptwriter's joke at the expense of 21st century political correctness?)

I must admit that, although Roald Dahl was a favourite of mine, I never liked Potter's books as a child. They always struck me (and still do) as the sort of children's books that appeal to adults far more than they do to children. (Some of my friends claimed to like them, but I wondered if they were just saying that to please their parents and teachers). I think that, in my case, the problem was that Miss Potter's language is much more adult than her subject-matter. As a young child I struggled with her unfamiliar vocabulary, and when I was older and could understand her language, her tales of cutesy animals struck me as twee and babyish.

Despite this prejudice, however, I enjoyed "Miss Potter" greatly. "Roald and Beatrix" is perhaps not quite as good, but I nevertheless liked it. French makes Potter a likeably eccentric heroine, even if a did keep hearing echoes of the Vicar of Dibley, and young Harry Tayler is excellent as the young Roald. At nine he is rather older than Dahl would have been in 1922, but I don't think that matters, as it is easier to envisage a nine-year-old than a six-year-old running away from home in this manner. The period is lovingly recreated in best British "heritage cinema" style, and the visual look of the film is very attractive. This was one of British television's better offerings over this year's festive season. 7/10
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lisa-oreilly7424 December 2020
Really disappointed with this film. I was really looking forward after the most terrible year (2020) to watching this on Christmas Eve with my little family. It really is a pointless film with a terrible story line, well if you can call it a storyline. What a waste of a fabulous opportunity...
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Its beautiful
jenrula1 January 2021
I am probably biased because I love Dahl and Potter but this film for me was about Dahl s mum. She did really have to bury her husband and daughter within weeks and tho this film may take liberties, I am in awe of any woman or son who made good on that pain. This is beautiful to the eye and soul ... may we seek to be this beautiful x
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Saved Christmas
StuDeb226 December 2020
We watched this Boxing Day. I missed it on Christmas Eve. Absolutely wonderful. Beautifully filmed. The only programme that really made it feel Christmas. Great cast and John Hannah narrating. What else could you possibly want.
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bubbles201228 December 2020
Was such a lovely film.. I wanted more.. it was Christmassy and had two of my favorite writers included
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marie-ell199329 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
As a fan of beatrix potter, I was looking forward to the film. After reading more about the roald and beatrix encounter, I thought it would be a great family movie. During the first 10 minutes there was a death and beatrix chasing a duck with a long knife because she wanted it for her Christmas dinner. Then being miserable and grumpy with a group of carol singers. Not something I thought would be in her nature, considering the adaptations I've previously watched depicting her life, made her out to be a genuinely, lovely lady. Maybe there was a dark side to her that I was unaware of?! Anyway, with the illusions shattered, after 25 minutes, I switched off. The scenery and acting were excellent, hence, why I have given it 5 stars.
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A festive charm
katherine-britton29 December 2020
Absolutely delightful, and should be taken for what it is - A beautifully scripted and scenic cinematic festive tale. The lead actors were all wonderful - Dawn french is a gem as the older and well renowned more grouchy Miss P, the young boy playing Roald is a delight and Jessica Hynes as his mother is simply lovely. I also adored the cameo roles of the wonderful Alison steadman, Bill Bailey and Rob Bryden. True fans will have noticed the delightful subtlety of Mr Twit appearing in the rude bearded man at the funeral and the BFG in the strange talking, big eared friendly train driver and even possibly the Witch of The Witches in Miss P herself. I think it was lovely that the actual interaction between the two writers was so brief at the end of the film so as to be faithful to what probably actually happened in real life. Thank you Sky, I've thoroughly enjoyed this festive treat!
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Not as good as expected
Floody211225 December 2020
Was expecting it to be better than it actually was. Overall, it felt a bit twee. Great picture postcard scenery of the Lake District though. Jessica Haynes as Sophie Dahl was excellent with her Scandinavian accent and young Harry Tayler played a sympathetic young Roald.

A pleasant enough way to pass the time
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An unremarkable event turned into an equally unremarkable story
matthewdavidwren29 December 2020
Given that the film is based anyway on a pretty unremarkable event, it seems a very strange decision to write a story about it. It is a storyline that inevitably falls flat on its face in slow motion. Nothing wrong with the acting or the beautiful cinematography.
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Simply charming
jonathan_pickett29 December 2020
A charming and simple story nicely told and put together. A shining star in a meagre Christmas TV schedule.
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Charming, but not very exciting.
terrykennethbarber27 December 2020
It is very well acted, and it looks beautiful. It was a perfectly lovely film, but it felt like there was something missing or that more should have been happening. If you want something sweet to watch with the family, watch this. Though it might not be exciting or fun enough to keep younger viewers interested.
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alancmorton-3788128 December 2020
I was looking forward to this seasonal derma, but what a let down. I gave it 25 minutes then asked my wife if she wanted to watch any more ... no! So we turned it off.
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Please Sir? Can I have some more?
adamjohns-4257530 December 2020
I think I wanted more from this one? If it is just the beginning of a series, I may be able to forgive it somewhat, but if this is the sum total of their connection, I can't help feeling that it is not quite noteworthy enough to bother making in to a film.

I was quite disappointed that their actual meeting only lasted a few minutes, as I'd expected the whole film to be about the connection that they had made. However, if there are going to be follow ups that show the rest of their story, then this was a nice gentle way to start it. As a stand alone story though, I felt it was quite slow going and lacked the interest I thought it would provide. If they had become the best of friends or if he had helped her write a book or she had inspired him to write his first, then I could see the point, otherwise it was just a little bit twee.

Don't get me wrong, it was a nice little film, but it didn't really seem to go anywhere. It was filmed well and in some great locations and the actors were all very good. Jessica Hynes in particular, despite her almost Welsh, Norwegian accent, was a very good character as Roald's Mother. Why they chose Rob Brydon to play William Heelis though, I don't know? He was not Welsh as far as I can see? Honestly I just don't like Mr Brydon anyway. John Hannah was and is always an inspired choice as the narrator, that voice just has such charm.

I'd love to see the IMDB trivia section fill up with information about the actual connection between the two, in order to understand it better. I made a vague attempt at studying it via Wikipedia, but could not satisfy my curiosity. Perhaps it should have been completely truthful instead of just sort of?
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