Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (PG)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Aug 12 2008

There’s an air of ‘The Sound of Music’ to this 1930s-set tale as frumpy, penniless English governess Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) enters a comically different world. Employed as social secretary for American actress Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), her discomfort is immediately apparent.

Sheltered Miss Pettigrew is out of place in a world of Champagne-swilling, bed-hopping socialites partying merrily through the warning signs of war. But she has no choice but to roll up her sleeves and muck in, providing a welcome anchor for dizzy Delysia, whose principal problem is juggling the three different men she’s sleeping with: a young West End producer, Phil (Tom Payne), a nightclub owner, Nick (Mark Strong), and piano-playing ex-con Michael (Lee Pace).

It’s an instantly involving set-up for this adaptation of Winifred Watson’s novel. We follow Miss Pettigrew closely, sharing her fascination with Delysia’s glamorous lifestyle – and her embarrassment when she spills food on kindly fashion impresario Joe (Ciarán Hinds), the only person in this giddy social whirl who shares her memories of the First World War. Joe’s conversations with Miss Pettigrew are the film’s only serious, contemplative moments. Delysia’s dilemmas are simple: head v heart, romance v security.

This is a frothy confection, but it doesn’t only know its limitations, it revels in them. Coincidences play into Miss Pettigrew’s hands, driving the plot forward with a wink and a nod. Lee Pace is miscast as Delysia’s true love, but Adams is adorable as the wide-eyed would-be starlet, with McDormand spot-on as the sensible half of the odd couple. A delightfully frivolous screwball comedy.

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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Aug 15, 2008

Duration:

92 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

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LiveReviews|25
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gill

when i go to the c inema which i do once a week, i go for an entertaining time. the whole experience of being in the cinema, watching a film, being removed from MY reality, which is a family i don't see a disabled husband not much money to spare, so i want to escape and i don't really care what the film is i just enjoy it for what it is meant to be, pure escapism and joy. while i agree some films are better than others some of my days are better than others, i have learned to take it as it comes, and love every bit. x x x

gill

when i go to the c inema which i do once a week, i go for an entertaining time. the whole experience of being in the cinema, watching a film, being removed from MY reality, which is a family i don't see a disabled husband not much money to spare, so i want to escape and i don't really care what the film is i just enjoy it for what it is meant to be, pure escapism and joy. while i agree some films are better than others some of my days are better than others, i have learned to take it as it comes, and love every bit. x x x

Alison

I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I have not read the book, so I can't compare them. But as a piece of light entertainment I found it fun. Amy Adams is delightful, and the whole piece is like a 1930's stage set. It was funny and easy on the eye. Unlike the reviewer, I thought Lee Pace was fine as the piano playing boyfriend.

Bo

In response to the last entry by Ken, I disapgree. Mamma Mia was a joyful, if at times silly and exuberant, entertainment. The film version of Miss Pettigrew scantly resembles the book. The sets were over done. Delysia's flat with that horrendous Victorian kitchen was not at all how it was described in the book. The biggest travesty in my mind is how the film gutted out the essential quality of the book and that has to do with KINDNESS. Miss Pettigrew encounters int he course on one day a panoply of characters, theatrical, vaguely debauched, somewhat bohemian, but all kind. It is the kindness that touches Miss Pettigrew. Something she never encountered among the genteel bourgeoisie she worked for. Miss LaFosse and her coterie embrace Miss Pettigrew to their bosom and Miss Pettigrew learns to eschew the tight-assed hypocritical sanctity of middle-class morality. The film does not get this at all. The characters are collectively unpleasant, selfish, crass and vulgar. One doesn't care about them. Even Miss Pettigrew is reduced to some bag lady who is prepared to eat an apple core off the street.

ken edwards

Funny about the negative comments this has attracted but I really liked this film. Totally undemanding but it does what it sets out to do. Good performances all round and beautiful to look at. After the dreadfulness of Momma Mia, this appears a masterpiece worthy of multiple Oscars!

Luchino

The novel is perhaps low-key, yet moving and memorable. The movie is a muddled and even desperate translation to the screen. The psychology and social observation are pure Final Draft 7, 2008. Strip a Noel Coward play of its dialogue, an Astaire-Rogers movie of its dance numbers and you have this movie - a cliched plot executed without wit or grace. The sets are dreadful, the soundtrack stillborn, and the sense of liberation, original to the story, entirely fabricated and false. The Brits have done it again.

HANNAH!!

This film was BEYOND awful. How could someone think to create something so unbelieveably terrible? Do people not own eyes!? Can't they see how simply disgraceful this film turned out to be. I am extremely appalled by the sensitivity this films lacks. Urgh.

Roger.

The gf dragged me along to this silly film which was frankly embarrassing and I am a metrosexual so it's not for reasons of macismo that I write this!

joanna

too too tacky for words. has good taste good from British film making??

Batay

I was expecting a lovely film based on a favourite book. Instead a heavy handed waste of celluloid.

Dirk

An incoherent and utterly unengaging film with charmless characters who you do not care about one jot. The pathetic attempts at social realism (soup kirchens and pending war) were trite rather than meaningful.

millicent

A charming and delicate novel poorly adapted for the screen - all the charm and wry social observation removed and replaced by cliche after cliche in a plodding clunky overly theatrical and abyssmally directed film.