There is something baffling about Renée Zellwegger. The puffy-cheeked, squinty-eyed waif has a quality at once completely strange and magnetically engaging. In Miss Potter, Zellwegger validates her “critic’s darling” status once again, with a performance sure to be noticed by international juries. As Beatrix Potter, the author of the Peter Rabbit series, the actress revives, in a different historical context, the pre-feminist strength of her Oscar-winning Cold Mountain role, Ruby. The plot: British writer Potter, an imaginative girl who wiles away her hours drawing animals and spinning yarns, grows up with an artillery of stories, lives in a world (Victorian England) that would nary take a woman seriously. To her good fortune, she meets the son of a publishing magnate (played innocuously by Ewan MacGregor). Potter manages to become a child-lit legend, fall in love, refuse marriage and advocate suffragism. An inspiring story, the film lacks conflict, and it’s difficult to care about this rather privileged character. Too saccharine to leave the audience with anything but a half-raised fist and empty calories, Miss Potter is a movie with heart — but in the wrong place.