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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  10 July 2009 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 10,397 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 46 user | 105 critic | 16 from

After her much older husband forces a move to a suburban retirement community, Pippa Lee engages in a period of reflection and finds herself heading toward a quiet nervous breakdown.



(screenplay), (book)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pippa Lee (as Robin Wright Penn)
Suky Sarkissian
Arnie Burton ...
Des Sarkissian
Beckett Melville ...
Billy Wheelan ...


Pippa Lee feels dislocated when she and her husband Herb move from Manhattan to a retirement community. He's older than she, they have two children who are young adults, and the daughter hardly speaks to Pippa. Pippa tells us about her life, in long flashbacks, starting with her birth to a mom who was a social dynamo and addicted to pills. As a teen, Pippa moves out and lives a hippie life until meeting Herb, who was then married to a young siren. Pippa discloses tragedies and discoveries. In the present, she's sleepwalking at night and talking from time to time with a burned-out case, the 35-year-old son of a neighbor. Can Pippa connect? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fall in Love With Pippa Lee See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, brief nudity, some drug material and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 July 2009 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Íntima de Pippa Lee  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£44,511 (UK) (10 July 2009)


£108,160 (UK) (17 July 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Maggie Gyllenhaal was considered for the role of Suky, but dropped out due scheduling conflicts and Maria Bello replaced her. See more »


Sam Shapiro: [beginning of film: toasting Herb at dinner party] I have known Pippa Lee for 25 years and I think that I will really ever know her. She is a mystery... an enigma... giving, caring, beautiful, intelligent... the very icon of an artist's wife.
See more »


That's All I Want
Written by Robert Byrd
Performed by Bobby Day
Courtesy of Lynn Adajian
By Arrangement with Ace Music Services LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Vehicle for Alan Arkin and eye candy for film students
24 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I attended the North American Premiere of "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Written and directed by Rebecca Miller from her own book, this is the complex, multi-layered life story of a woman trying to survive her checkered past. Its stellar cast makes this film a joy -- Robin Wright Penn is extraordinary as the titular character, while Keanu Reeves, Blake Lively, and Winona Ryder truly shine in supporting roles. But "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" is, most of all, a vehicle for the legendary Alan Arkin as Pippa's husband Herb Lee. He's at his best yet.

The script is about 5/50 drama and comedy so it's hard to pin it down either way. But that's what real life is, isn't it? The art and costume direction are superb with great care taken to ensure that each of Pippa Lee's "lives" has its own unique color palette and sets to match. Keeping it all together is a wonderful recurring musical theme and sweet score. There are a number of clever transitions between sets and time periods which were not done with computers but "in-camera." As an aficionado of the craft of film-making, these set tricks blew me away.

30 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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