Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) Poster

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brilliant screwball comedy
brookschoenfield24 March 2008
This type of movie has simply not been done for 40 or 50 years. Comedy based upon timing, script, and coincidence (the "screwball" part) is very rare.

Unlike today's comedy, based on the outrageous, the actors in this genre have to know how to deliver the lines, keep the pace. The resurrection of a genre.

One of the unusual parts of this film worth noting is the score. The music moves the action a great deal of the time. And the composer kept the sound from the era almost flawlessly: big band jazz of the late 1930's. (there are a couple of slips into later jazz styles, very minor - musicologists may be annoyed - but no one else will notice) The music becomes one of the characters of the plot, interacting almost as much as the actors do. That alone is a brilliant device, tried by many, mastered rarely, especially in period.

Amy Adams and Frances McDormand have a wonderful interplay, both sides of the romantic slide: young, desired, older, having past love by.

great movie if you like your comedy a little faster, but with no one who's eating anything disgusting for a laugh.
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Miss Pettigrew...Miss Pettigrew...Miss Pettigrew...
phantomtristan16 March 2008
Welcome to a world of lavish delights. A world filled with fashion shows, cocktail parties, and the latest gossip. This is the world Miss Pettigrew finds her self swept up into, and where she lives her day…to the fullest.

Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a nanny that has just been dropped by her placement agency after being fired for the third time from another displeased client. In her desperation for employment she steals an address card to a new client, and is soon on their doorstep, posing as the new nanny from the agency. This new client turns out to be, Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), a young singer/actress wannabe who is competing for the lead in a big production play. She has no children and wants a nanny more as a secretary or "social secretary" as she later calls Miss Pettigrew. Within a matter of minutes of her arrival Miss Pettigrew helps Delysia outwit two of the three men she is seeing, avoiding a possible catastrophe. This makes Delysia worship Miss Pettigrew and before long she is whisking her away to a fashion show and salon before a cocktail party in the evening.

As the characters play with love like a fine chess game, Miss Pettigrew helps Delysia maneuver through this dazzling champagne 'n' strawberry-drenched world of revelries that the rich use in a desperate attempt to conceal the looming dread of WWII, meanwhile enjoying tidbits of luxuries she would never have dreamed of.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is an absolute delight to watch from the very beginning up until the final end. The production, directing, writing, and acting are all superb as they recreate the WWII era in England.

The acting, well Frances McDormand and Amy Adams as the two leads, need I say more. These two actresses work together so flawlessly. Frances McDormand masters a British accent and gives a performance of layers. Few actresses can play a character that "acts" fakily-sweet and still give such a realistic performance as Amy Adams. Her performance reminded me of her recent golden-globe nominated performance in Enchanted.

Overall this is a charming, delightfully entertaining film with wonderful performances and a sharp script.
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Money or love?…Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
jaredmobarak6 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day indeed. And quite the day it was. Here is the "governess of last resort," a daughter of a vicar, raised in a sheltered world of modesty. After butting heads with her previous employers due to their lack of courtesy, manners, and morals, Miss Pettigrew finds herself hungry, penniless, and very desperate. In a moment of need, she steals the address of a prospective client and pops over to pose as the woman sent for the job. Expecting a young boy to have to look after for his rich and busy mother, she finds herself in a world like she has never seen. Caught in an aristocratic puzzle of greed, lust, power, and ego, she tries her hardest to remember that love is not a game. In order to keep the lid on her lies, though, she finds herself unwittingly becoming a key pawn on the board, moving pieces around to where they say they want to go, but where she knows they truly don't. She must not falter on her morals, however, despite the detours along the way, as she is the last stop for her new boss to finally discover the joy and life of love that has been sitting right in front of her.

The first thing one will notice with this film is the very careful attention to detail in the scenery and apparel. We are transported into the late-30s/early-40s, right on the cusp of World War II, a time of social upheaval wherein the youth sees the prospect of an adventure and the aged see only disaster as they recall the losses they suffered during the first war. This threat overshadows the proceedings, but in a very subtle way, never making itself known until serving the plot. Instead we are given a screwball comedy of errors, a cornucopia of deceit and subversion as everyone has a hidden agenda, building relationships to get ahead in the world. Our subject is an American actress who has been transplanted to Britain in order to find fame. Miss Delysia Lafosse finds herself embroiled in a domineering coupling with a nightclub owner who she sings for, a tryst with a young West End producer in attempts to secure a coveted role, and a friendship of pure love with her pianist companion. Career and wealth overpower her sense of reason and the intrusion of Miss Pettigrew could not have occurred at a more opportune time. It is quite refreshing to see a period piece without all the stuffiness one normally associates with them. It is also funny to say something feels so unique when it so blatantly steals the style of films that were made in the very era this takes place. Thankfully that aesthetic still brings the laughter and intrigue even today.

Based on a novel from 1938, the story doesn't try to be more than it is. This is a tale of diverting entertainment with plot threads that are obvious from the first frame. There is something pleasant about that, though, because one can check their skepticism at the door and just sit down to relax and watch the show. The acting is broad and over-the-top, yet finds itself reined in at the right moments to truly let the actors emote that which their roles express. Anytime you have a story with a love-triangle as complex and comical as it is here, you know the tale will end happily ever after. That does not mean the hijinks leading up to that moment won't be a joyous ride.

What can you say about Frances McDormand and Amy Adams? These are two fantastic actresses who bring their best and play off each other splendidly. While Junebug is still the role I think of when I see Adams, her overly expressive gestures and facial contortions can't help but bring a smile to your face. Reminiscent of her turn in Enchanted, Adams, as Lafosse, has a lot of fun here while still being able to tone it down for the serious moments, allowing us to care for her despite the horribly stupid decisions she makes over and over again. As for McDormand as the titular character, it is good to see her back in a leading role. Not since Fargo can I remember her take front billing and appear in almost every frame of a movie. She fully encompasses the role and creates a transformation so realistic that you never question her motives. The entire film takes place in a day, so her attitude of unworthiness is believable as it is all happening so fast. Being the exact opposite to every other role in the film allows her to make a difference to all the naïve people around her. She is the little bird whispering in their ears, knowing through the rough life she has led what is truly important. And maybe, in helping those she meets, a little well deserved happiness awaits her too.

Every part of Miss Pettigrew drives on to its inevitable conclusion, but I can't say one moment was done wrong. In fact, we are treated to some stunning sequences, from the full waltz between McDormand and Ciarán Hinds (in a large role for once after the bits parts recently in Margot at the Wedding, There Will Be Blood, etc.) circling the dance floor to the climactic song between Adams and her pianist friend played wonderfully by Lee Pace. After enjoying his work in Pushing Daisies, I hope Pace will begin to find more and more work because he plays the likable, love-struck soul to perfection. You won't be seeing any Oscars come from this film, but as a date movie, you can do a lot worse. Take your loved ones to see this and have a nice, good-natured time at the movies. If nothing else it will put a smile on your face.
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This Miss is bliss! McDormand is enchanting in the title role and Adams is charming, too
Amy Adler8 March 2008
Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a penniless nanny, currently out of a job. Although she has worked for a placement agency in the past, they give her the cold shoulder this time, mostly because her last three stints as a nanny, with impossible children, fared badly. Absolutely desperate for work, Miss Pettigrew hears of a position as a social secretary as she is walking out the agency's door. Making a beeline to the appropriate home, she encounters the young starlet, Delysia La Fosse (Amy Adams) who asked for her services. But, what doings! Delysia has had a male guest, overnight, who is not the man who owns the flat where she is currently bunking! The interloper must be ushered out before Mr. Moneybags returns or Delysia will be in a heap of trouble. Not missing a beat, Miss Pettigrew gets the situation under control with her innate wisdom. Delysia is grateful. But, the day is only getting started. There is a third man in Delysia's life and the young beauty is juggling suitors in a quest to become a bonafide star of the screen. Not only that, Delysia whisks Miss Pettigrew off to a fashion show and salon, where the new social secretary gets a makeover and meets a rich, handsome man (Ciaran Hinds) with eyes for HER. Is it possible to go from rags to riches in twenty four hours? Definitely, maybe! This is a lovely film with a great plot and a terrific cast. Adams is engaging as the beautiful but mixed-up starlet while Hinds is marvelous as the man who rediscovers what is important in life. The rest of the players are also wonderful, with a word of mention extended to Shirley Henderson for her nice turn as a conniving, inconvenient woman. But, really, this is McDormand's film, as she is the heart and soul of the picture and deservedly so, for her performance is absolutely enchanting and touching. Needless to say, the sets and costumes from the late 1930's are grand and so are the film's art direction and photography. Congratulations are hereby given to the fine, fine script and story, as well. Do you want to experience movie bliss? Then, don't miss Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, as your day will be as bright as newly minted penny, after a viewing.
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An art deco treat for the senses
bobbobwhite8 April 2008
Cute 30's-style story, but the best thing about this film was the art deco sets, the best art deco work I have seen since the real deco films of of the 30's. I almost forgot the story at times while looking at the gorgeous deco details in almost every scene. What a knockout apartment Amy Adam's character had, and the Savoy Hotel, wow again! Stunning, both.

As the story has been detailed many times here, I won't, except for this.....it was a combination of Cinderella, My Fair Lady, and many others showing rags to riches development of the star, along with a prince-in-hand, happy ending. The story was madcap, with Amy Adams' flashing star power and smile moving it along at the same breakneck speed she went through the men in her life. Frances McDormand played an unemployed, dowdy nanny turned Adams' "social secretary" by hook and by crook deception, and underplayed her part with great reserve and dignity even in the face of possibly having to live on the street again. Wonderful parts for both talents and both ran with them. Very entertaining film and a real treat for the senses as it also had beautiful camera-work to show off those fantastic deco sets.

If you miss the style, fashion and flair of those '30's nightclub films with big stars like Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, see this one and feel like you went back 70 years to the grand old age of "style" film-making.
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30's Screwball Comedy Classic
J_Trex18 March 2008
This reminded me of something that Irene Dunne or Norma Shearer would have starred in as Delysia, with Cary Grant playing the love interest, Michael. The cast was excellent. Frances McDormand in the title role was outstanding. Ciaran Hinds (Julius Ceaser from HBO's "Rome") was great. The screenplay was first-rate. The cinematography was perfect, capturing pre-WWII London flawlessly.

What really made the movie standout was Amy Adams as Delysia. She truly shined in her role. She has quickly become among the top tier female actors in Hollywood. She has great acting range in both comic and dramatic roles, and she can sing. She's got it all. Her love interest in the film, Lee Pace, was also very good. They had the type of chemistry that worked so well in the best 1930's screwball comedies with Cary Grant & Irene Dunne, among others.

This is a very good movie, well directed, written, & acted. I would recommend this movie to anyone in the mood for a good romantic comedy.
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Other review is a bit harsh
puttaguntamyhead17 March 2008
Old fashioned style comedy ridden- this film is a family must. Mcdormand and Adams deliver sterling displays in a wonderfully costumed period romantic comedy. Just like a classic film you'd sit down and watch with the family at Christmas. Perhaps for this reason it may not be to some people's liking

Director Nalluri harnesses some delicate character interactions that grow between McDormand's and Adam's character.

The question that remains is when will a British release date be confirmed? I believe momentum pictures have purchased the film for UK distribution. I sincerely hope it comes out sooner rather than later.

The movie itself definitely leaves a warm feeling inside by the end!
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Simply irresistible
Kristine3 April 2008
When I first saw the trailer for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, I was a little off put, it looked like a movie that I was either going like a lot or really dislike and feel like it was a waste of time. So I saw Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day this morning and I really liked it a lot. Miss Pettigrew is a feel good light hearted romantic comedy, one that we need more of these days. It had bright colors, a fun story, and enchanting actors. Frances McDormand was so brilliant and a lot of fun to watch, she's got such a presence on the silver screen and has still got that magical touch. Amy Adams was just adorable, I really am starting to love her more and more in each movie I see her in, she's just so cute in her role as Delysia. The weird thing is, is that her character could have been such a tramp, but she made it into someone so cute and likable that her and Miss Pettigrew into a great on screen friendship.

Miss Pettigrew is a woman in the 1930's who has gone through so much, she's getting fired from one job to the next. But when she sneaks into being a "social secretary" for Delysia Lafosse, a sexy young vixen who is dating three guys at the same time. But she just wants to have the lead role in the local play and become a huge actress, but it's hard balancing these boys, but with Miss Pettigrew, she realizes that she might just be in love with a great man. Miss Pettigrew in the mean time catches the eye of a handsome rich man, Joe, who may just change her life.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a charming film and is one of the better films of 2008. I know that it's a bit predictable and it's a chick flick, but it's just a fun movie that I'm sure you'll like. It doesn't try too hard and the actors looked like they had such a great time making this movie. I would recommend Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, it's worth the watch. It's a nice romantic comedy that's original, clean, and fun. It brought me back to the classic movies of the 1950's where they were just fun entertainment, the colors and the feel of movie was just enchanting.

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Feast for the Senses
papacorn9 April 2008
A lot of movie going these days, at least for me, is having seen the best a film has to offer in the television clips/ads. Compare the feeling to being a fish who gets caught on the hook, is reeled in,and quickly finds out the worm wasn't worth the misery of being captured. In a refreshing turn of fate, this was an exception. I took the bait and was glad I did. It offered up a plush background that quickly brought this viewer in to share the experience with the actors. Amy Adams and Frances McDormand created a complex relationship and I quickly felt empathy with their characters. I want to give special notice to Ciaran HInds as Joe Blumfield. He was magnetically appealing. His quiet reserve as Joe, ruggedly handsome,worldly wise, and debonair, is rarely seen in male roles. Let's have more of this! (Oops, I guess you might have figured me for a guy by my review name, papacorn, but I'm solidly female.) I was truly entertained and even enjoyed the music which is of a type I never particularly liked before. I don't think it's meant for children and I'd definitely recommend parental discretion as suggested by the rating.
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A refreshing retelling of an old story
nmachiaveli16 March 2008
If you're looking for a compelling, daring, high brow documentary then this is not the one for you. However, if you're interested in seeing good acting, excellent art direction, and fun, whimsical characters then you won't be disappointed. Francis McDormand gives an excellent performance as the lead character. This role plays to her strengths - her presence, facial expressions and perfect timing. Amy Adams stretches a bit to deliver a good performance. She still managed to make her portrayal of the character believable despite her acting limitations. By far the best performance was that of Shirley Henderson as Edythe. Henderson takes the character and fully embraces it, exploiting the opportunity without going over the top. The story line while familiar, is adapted well enough to be make it a refreshing and witty period film without being cliché or taking itself too seriously. Overall the movie was very well done and one of the best refreshingly familiar feel-good films in recent memory.
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Featherheads? Miss Pettigrew just misses
shomethemovie11 May 2008
An aficionado of music and styles of the 30's and 40's, I couldn't wait to see this movie and was ready to love it. So many elements were there - the premise, the characters, flawless casting from the leads to the supporting actors, and evocative and charming look and sound. But for a truly engaging "screwball comedy with a heart" the story and dialogue were often painfully clumsy. Worse, drawn-out mugging by the usually wonderful McDormand and Adams (in supposedly farcical situations) wasn't funny and made the pace positively lurch along, clearly the fault of the direction and editing. By the time there were some enchanting and poignant moments - which only intensified my disappointment over what might have been - the audience seemed frankly bored. They never laughed and filed out at the end with ruefull shrugs. Miss Pettigrew was as pleasant and inoffensive as your great-aunt Mabel, but it should have left everyone wiping a tear while doing a little two-step out the door to the jaunty end-title music. I'm very surprised at the enthusiasm of the majority of the reviewers, but good for them if they enjoyed it.
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cute, light-hearted movie
guest-7910 March 2008
Cute, light-hearted movie with heart, and a lesson for our times! The scene where Amy Adams sings one number had me in tears! I pulled out the Kleenex. The music is the star. It lifted the mood where the film could have turned somber. Nice quality of sound in the theater - I could almost make out the dialog if it weren't for the British accents. The dialog took 2nd place anyway as the sets, the costumes, the production, and the pacing dazzled, and moved the story at a nice a clip, too nice to bore. My friend couldn't make out the dialog but enjoyed it nonetheless! If you want a light-hearted afternoon or evening of entertainment, don't miss this one!
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Money or love?
Warning: Spoilers
Every few years a film comes along that makes you believe in love again. Before this it was The Notebook, Titanic, etc., all the way back to Casablanca and Gone with the Wind. 'Miss Pettigrew' is the newest addition to that list.

In London, between the World Wars, we meet Guinevere Pettigrew: a poor, hungry nanny who can't hold down a job for one reason or another and is thrown out onto the street with no home and nothing but the clothes on her back. After being denied the chance to get another job by the placement agency, Miss Pettigrew steals an open slot to work for the beautiful, ravishing, and, err, popular Delysia Lafosse. It's from here that the 'Day' begins and Miss Pettigrew is thrown into a backwards world of false love, used only to get what you want. After saving Delysia from her confused private life, Guinevere is madeover into a more presentable woman to be around town with Miss Lafosse, keeping Delysia's life situated between the three men in her life: Nick (with the flat), Phil (with the stage), and Michael (with the love).

The film is probably one of the most important romantic comedies I've ever seen, coming at a time when much of the world is facing war themselves. It delivers many powerful messages. . . value each day, love is most important, etc. But, the messages aren't thrown in your face to the point of insult.

I cannot recommend this film enough and if you have the means, be sure to see it. . . and, even better, see it with someone you love.

Final Verdict: 10/10. The film itself is probably a 9/10, but it's the feeling it gave me that raises it to a 10.

  • "We're going to war, aren't we?"

  • "Yes we are, and that's why we mustn't waste a second of this precious life."

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What a Bore!
sunraider1 September 2008
I can't believe this film received positive reviews. I was bored silly. This felt like someone's vanity piece; some producer or director who loved '30s era screwball comedies wanted to make one of their own. But it doesn't work. I didn't laugh at all during this movie. Amy Adams' character is flighty and breathless, running around her pad with no idea what she's doing. Neither she, nor her three "lovers" are likable or memorable. McDormand is little more than a neutral character, despite being the title character, because we never get to know her. The film basically takes place over a one-day period and has only three sets: the apartment, a nightclub, and the Savoy Hotel. Everything has to take place in this limited setting, but the plot is too thin and the dialog too weak to be effective. The only times this film has some life are when Hinds and McDormand share screen time alone, with the other totally uninteresting characters off the screen.
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Sophisticated comedy or middling fairy tale? At least it has Frances MacDormand
Terrell-410 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is something of a fairy-tale, or perhaps just a warm-hearted story. It's about a middle-aged woman, a nanny in 1939 London, down on her luck, who manages to help a young couple realize what love is all about, and in the process finds some love for herself. This is all told amidst the accouterments of sophisticated comedy, complete with a Cole Porter song and some Noel Coward brittleness.

Somewhere, either in the script, the acting or the direction, Miss Pettigrew, in my opinion, went a bit off the tracks. We have Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) trying unsuccessfully to find work. She's a woman with a particular personality who, we can see, can be difficult. By chance she winds up with a job as secretary to Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), an ambitious, ditzy, effervescent nightclub singer who lives in exquisite digs and balances, barely, an active love life with three boyfriends. There's young Phil, wealthy son of a London producer who may cast Delysia as the lead in a new musical; there's Nick, the assured and tough owner of the nightclub; and there's Michael, her accompanist who loves her and accepts her for who she really is. Delysia is determined to become famous, adored and rich on the London stage. Into this whirlwind comes Pettigrew, who has never known sophistication, much less ditzy, beddable blondes, and who now finds herself trying to sort out Delysia's overlapping boyfriends and deal with Delysia's habit of spontaneous party giving, lingerie buying and impetuous decisions. Along the way, she meets Joe (Ciaran Hinds), the famous designer of all that gorgeous lingerie who just may be looking for a simpler and more honest life. It's not long, as air raid warnings blare, that Pettigrew realizes before Delysia does who the man is Delysia truly loves and what Delysia needs to do to be true to love and to herself. All this happens in one day.

The problem with this fairy-tale is three-fold. First, structure. The movie falls into two parts, and they don't share the same spirit. The first half is all sophisticated, fast-paced screwball comedy, with boyfriends coming and going, a bra hanging from a chandelier, nighties hidden under the rug and the slightly flustered but indomitable Pettigrew doing what it takes to keep Delysia under some sort of barely manageable control. The second half, however, switches comedy for daytime soap opera. We learn Delysia's real story. We learn Pettigrew's real story. We learn about true love and false ambition and all that other stuff. The movie shuffles the cards on us. Second, style. Conducting a sophisticated, brittle drawing room comedy in the style of the Thirties requires as much skill as playing in a great chamber music ensemble. In my view, the actors, led by the director, don't manage to bring it off. The gears show. For instance, in one scene Pettigrew is frantically cleaning up in Delysia's apartment as one boyfriend is leaving and another is on the way up. There's much rushing around but no sense of exquisite timing. There's little blending of an ensemble, just a number of actors doing their best. And third, is the actors, or at least some of them. Francis MacDormand does a fine job...if she didn't, there'd be no movie. She is secure as Miss Pettigrew and has the sense to underplay while so many others are rushing around or conniving next to her. However, Amy Adams as Delysia Lafosse is problematic. She does everything the director and script ask of her, from high gloss ditzy to tremulous uncertainty. For me, however, she has that Nicole Kidman look about her...proficient acting tools, a flashing smile but eyes that always seem tense and anxious. Adams always seems to me to be trying too hard. For sheer bright- young-things sophisticated attitudes and acting style, try watching Fenella Woolgar as Agatha in Bright Young Things or Carole Lombard as Irene Bullock in My Man Godfrey. I admire Adams' energy but for me she doesn't quite carry it off. Unfortunately, the actor playing her real love is just a pleasant, undynamic hunk with a day-and-a-half growth of well-groomed whiskers. When the two of them in the nightclub toward the end of the movie sing together a song of love and regret, the effect is, for me, mawkish. Noel Coward might have stayed for the whole play, but he probably would have sent a brisk note afterward to the director. This is a pleasant, feel-good movie with a fine performance by MacDormand. I wish the film had been better.
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Not for me...
Ted Wilby (tfiddler)16 April 2008
I see literally hundreds of films from the 30's and I'm sorry. This film does not have what I call the "Ring of Truth". The music jumps from recreations of period music to the real music. I also thought it odd to film in England and use so many, at least what I thought were, American Actors trying to do English Accents. I was not impressed. However, I must tell you, I'm a projectionist in a theatre, and I'm running the last half right now and this is my second day and I am trying to give it a chance. It's very hard to hear all the Dialogue as a Projectionist and so I will rent it some day on DVD and look at it with my wife who is 74 in our living room theatre and see what she thinks.
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A fun romp & a gem of a sleeper!
Nooshin Navidi11 September 2010
Adapted from Winifred Watson's novel by the same name and starring the talented Frances McDormand, this film is a gem. The pace was crisp & whimsical, the acting delightful, and the script full of deliciously witty banter. McDormand has the rare gift of conveying hilarity with her subtle facial expressions alone, and she uses it to perfection here.

Amy Adams holds her own opposite her, hitting just the right notes with her character's requisite over-the-top theatrics & the young-girl tenderness that lurks beneath. Shirley Henderson is so good as the funny and scheming Edythe that she would have stolen the show were she not accompanied by the other two strong actresses. If you liked her in this film, be sure to see her in 'The Way We Live Now', where she also shines, but in a slightly different way!

The sub-theme of WWII was absent in the book and added to the film for creative reasons, and it really worked without making the film heavy or maudlin. I also loved the soundtrack. The period sets & costumes were so gorgeous, I had to keep pausing for a longer look.

Don't miss the Bonus Features on both sides of the DVD.

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A Film That's Long Overdue
lonenote1 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Delysia LaFosse. If ever there was a stage name that suited a character better I haven't heard it to date. Amy Adams, who plays the kittenish starlet does an amazing job of taking what could be seen as a fickle, flighty, materialistic woman and endears her to us.

Gwenevere Pettigrew. What could have been portrayed as a dry, austere, stern woman is gentled into comedic brilliance by Frances McDormand's talent. With her uncontrollable hair and drab clothing she is a stark contrast to the glamour of the 1930's nightlife era.

The moment a sleepy-eyed Delysia answers Miss Pettigrew's courageous ring at her door you realize these two characters need one another. While Delysia's wants are more blatant, Miss Pettigrew's silent appeal is answered by the budding stage actress. In one day, Miss Pettigrew is transformed from homeless, jobless, starving street urchin existence to fashionably stylish, social secretary who awes everyone she encounters.

This exceptional dialogue-written, stellar-acted film is long overdue in coming. Set in the 1930's the viewer is plunged into a whirlwind of romance, social structures, fashion and the looming threat of war that seems more of an inconvenience to some than the sobering truth about the frailty of their frivolous lifestyle.

Adams and McDormand join forces to create a wonderful bond of friendship enriched with banter and comedic play that is riveting to watch. By the end you are wishing this film lasted longer than one day.
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Like eating fresh cucumber
The_Dead_See23 August 2008
"Like eating fresh cucumber", that's how my wife put it, and she was right on the money.

If movies were food, "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" would be fresh cucumber. It doesn't fill up your senses nor or exalt your taste buds with brilliance, but it does leave you feeling lively, refreshed and optimistic. Frances McDormand is great as always, the rest of the cast are all charming in their own way, and they are given plenty of sharp and witty dialogue to work with. In fact, the movie is so dialogue driven. it almost feels like you're watching a stage play.

So, yes fresh cucumber, absolutely... and it's almost impossible not to take some pleasure in a movie as innocent and charming as this - even if it doesn't have any real nutritional value.
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When Amy Adams sings it 's a little bit of screen magic.
Adam Novak19 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Although a bit forced at times, MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY is a bright and bubbly under-rated film that has all the makings of a possible Broadway musical.

In fact, the way the cast behaved throughout the film I was half expecting everyone to break into a song and dance at the drop of a hat. Not surprisingly, when Amy Adams does get to sing, it's a little bit of screen magic to treasure.

I can just imagine this show on Broadway and the fact that Amy's character is supposed to be starring in a stage musical entitled PILE ON THE PEPPER, it would be good sense to make it a musical "show within a show".

Frances McDormand created a wonderful character with depth and feeling, and you feel that this woman, Miss Pettigrew, has always existed. And Amy Adams is so very different in this film to what she was in DOUBT that it's hard to believe it's the same person.

All in all a good, old-fashioned romantic comedy. Had it been a musical filled with songs from the 1930's I would have given it 10 out of 10 for sure!
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Charming piece of fluff
btm117 July 2009
OK, the plot is at best schmaltzy. It seemed old fashioned, like a Noel Coward play brought to the screen. Actually, that may have been deliberate as the over all theme is how the modern life (i.e., modern in 1939) is not as satisfying as old fashioned values. But the acting and all is so well done that this "happily ever after" story can just be forgiven and enjoyed.

Ever since "Fargo," I never miss an opportunity to see a Frances McDormand film. I also learned from this movie that Amy Adams (as Delysia Lafosse, the ingénue part) who appears naked in one scene except for a strategically placed towel, is truly gorgeous and has a beautiful singing voice. (Lee Pace, who plays one of Delysia Lafosse's romantic interests, also has a nice voice.)
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bmcln114 September 2008
I'm afraid I found this film toe-curling-lee unfunny. It's just a succession of all the cute characteristics Americans used to attribute to the Briddish about 50 years ago. I think it's probably the director's fault. I mean the cast all did their best. In fact Shirley Henderson ("Moaning Myrtle" in HP2, Miss Mellmott in the BBC The Way We Live Now) managed to do her epitome-of-evil thing quite well. But oh dear, nostalgia costumes and art deco lifts don't make a great film, just as a funny walk is not great comedy. Wow, Delysia tipped the leavings off a dinner plate into the cutlery drawer. Oh how we rolled in the aisles, I don't think. Don't waste your money. Read a PG Wodehouse instead.
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An Inconsequential Dud
evanston_dad27 August 2008
This attempt to recreate a 1930s style screwball comedy is an inoffensive dud. It by no means flops spectacularly, but it might be more fun if it did.

Frances McDormand plays the titular Miss Pettigrew, a down-on-her-luck lady who tricks her way into the employ of a ditzy American singer/actress (Amy Adams). It's like a female version of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, but the movie is too lead footed to capture the silly whimsy of those stories. McDormand is always a welcome presence in any film, but knowing what this actress can do just makes you wish she had been given a better role. Adams is good too -- every time I see her in a movie I find myself completely annoyed by her at first and utterly won over by her by the time the movie is over. But in aiming for light-hearted farce, the film leaves both actresses with too little to do. The plot is inconsequential by design, but without any charm or humour to replace it, the film goes nowhere.

Grade: C+
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Grubb from Pittsburgh
David Ferguson8 March 2008
Greetings again from the darkness. Something we rarely see these days is an attempt at the screwball comedy that made Cary Grant a mega-star. Disappointingly, TV director Bharat Nalluri doesn't have the chops or script to quite get this one over the hump, despite a terrific cast and authentic look to the film.

What's missing is the crackling, fast-paced dialogue that made those films so wonderful. Certainly Frances McDormand as the title character and Amy Adams as her pet project for the day are up to the task ... they are just left hanging without a worthy script. This one is extremely simple and despite its shortcomings, is still cute and easily watchable. So much more could have been done with McDormand's character that we leave the theater feeling the void. I am definitely looking forward to Amy Adams' next two film projects (both with Meryl Streep). It is time she was pushed as an actress. I sense greatness.

The supporting cast is excellent with Ciaran Hinds and rising star Lee Pace. The marvelous Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter films) steals every one of her scenes and again, makes us long for what could have been.

Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer music are terrific backdrops on the eve of German invasion and the night club scene is beautifully presented. While enjoyable enough to watch, in the end it is just another film that could have been much more.
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Miss Pettigrew Wins Our Hearts
Chrysanthepop13 August 2009
Nalluri's 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' is one of the most delightful films to come out in 2008. On the surface it appears to be a light feel good movie but look a little closer and one will see depth in a picture set in the world of glamour and glitter during World War II. The film is high on energy thanks to the mostly wild jazzy soundtrack. The set designs, costumes and makeup are true to the time period. Even the use of language and the actors' non-verbal gestures match the those of people from that time period. Class distinction is well demonstrated in a subtle manner. It is very well-written and fast paced. But what really make 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' so splendid are Frances McDormand and Amy Adams. McDormand delivers a very natural performance as she is very convincing as a British lassie while Delysia seems to have been written with Adams in mind. Ciarán Hinds and Lee Pace hold their own and have very good chemistry with their lead actresses. Shirley Henderson does well as the greedy opportunist. 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' is a small movie but a marvelous film experience.
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