NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day Movie Review

By Prairie Miller

A neo-screwball hip comedy jazzed up with a classy swing score and a fresh coat of slightly salty, rapid-fire flirty conversations, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day captivates with its slick wit and crisp rhythms. Based on the novel by Winifred Watson, this British midlife Cinderella satire embraces the rude antics of the scandalous rich and infamous celebrity elite, as World War II looms all around their silly, empty heads.

Amy Adams, still enchanted as she moves on from ditzy fairytale princess to 1930's ditzy London stage diva in the movie, comes off as a kind of younger, bubbly version of Nicole Kidman. She plays Delysia Lafosse, a filthy rich American import and overnight sensation on London's West End stage.

But decidedly not counted among her throng of adoring fans, are the short shelf life social secretaries she hires, who quickly tire of her chaotic, playgirl lifestyle and bolt at the first opportunity. Never mind, enter Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand), a world weary midlife failed governess of last resort who'll take any position you've got. Because it beats dining in soup kitchens, when she's tossed out of scores of nanny gigs after notoriously losing children in the parks.

But tending to the affairs of this pre-Britney Spears space cadet party girl, may be too taxing even for a pro like Pettigrew who's made a career specializing in handling childish creatures. For her main task turns out to be concealing Delysia's numerous lovers from one another, as they enter and depart the boudoir of her extravagant penthouse digs.


So Pettigrew decides to stick with it, not only because her assignment certainly beats those soup kitchens and Delysia is beginning to feel lost without her. There's also the overtures of a certain infatuated swell (Ciaran Hinds) who frequents the same pretentious soirees as Delysia. He's a celebrated women's underwear designer in the days when intimate whalebone apparel was all the rage, and he may have a different set of designs on Pettigrew as well.

The film, while breezy and playful with its own unique quirky charms, places a little too much emphasis on the ambitious ploys and shallow pursuits of this mostly vain, crafty and selfish leisure class. This, as the advancing war barely impinges somewhere, far in the background.

And though attack planes threaten overhead as they party and perpetuate their devious intrigues, heedless of it all, the film itself seems to get caught up too, impressed with its own euphoria and losing sight of that key historical moment glimpsed only in passing. Or, as one character laments about life that could refer likewise to Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, 'I distracted myself with silly things.' And more to the point, in that favored flavorful lingo of the day that the film lavishly steeps itself in, Dog-gone It.

Focus Features
Rated PG-13
3 stars

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Rose sat down to talk about the Ross Katz directed bittersweet dramady, while finishing off an alfalfa burger and diving into an accompanying plate of fries.
And 'how the art world stopped thinking about inequality and learned to love the bling.'
Kevin James talks to Kam Williams about his role in the Paul Blart: Mall Cop sequel
Freida Pinto, born in Mumbai, India, showed an interest in acting early on, participating in community theater and school productions.
Romance, war, adventure, vengeance are some of the common themes for the new DVD releases of the week. The King of Masks and Like Sunday, Like Rain are two.
A schoolgirl humiliated by a classmate takes a humiliating revenge in return, then comes up with the idea of forming The Sisterhood, secret society for girls.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site