July 24, 2012 8 Comments

Costume dramas are uncommon in the U.S. market. There’s always a superb BBC drama (or two!), but for those of us in the states who love the genre, we must wait longer to enjoy their latest masterpiece. In one of my Internet browsing sessions, I ran across Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day prior to its release, and needless to say I was curious. It isn’t a traditional costume film but is loads of fun and a “day” that will leave you smiling long after the closing credits.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) Film Review

The day starts out badly for Miss Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand), and just gets worse. Her most recent job as a governess doesn’t work out and she is put onto the streets by her tipsy employer without a weeks pay, leaving her destitute. Her bad luck continues when she can’t seem to find a decent meal, loses her only possessions after a run in with a young man just released from prison and the employment office won’t reconsider her for another job. Desperate, she eavesdrops on a request for what she assumes is a position as a nanny. The address leads her to the home of aspiring actress and singer Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams).

‘MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY’ (2010). A woman takes on a stranger in her social secretary potion amid a series of understanding. Text © Rissi JC

Delysia, it seems is in quite a predicament. Without knowing exactly who Miss Pettigrew is, she begs her help in getting out of a dilemma. Once the crisis passes, Delysia takes Guinevere, her new social secretary, on a shopping spree where life sweeps into a dizzying world of glamour and love triangles.  

Before I saw this, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I did assume I’d like it at the very least, but didn’t realize how much I’d adore it. Now, several showings later, I consider it a favorite along the tradition of Importance of Being Earnest or Miramax’s Emma. There’s a kind of infectious energy the filmmakers and stars bring to the screen; and it’s a genuine delight to see unfold. I’m captivated by the film before ten minutes pass, and the meeting between Delysia and Guinevere is a laugh-a-minute. The costumes, cinematography and props are spectacular. With the era being right before World War II, the design crew creates looks that appear period authentic. Plus, Delysia’s evening gown was gorgeous.

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‘MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY’ (2010) #FWarchives #PeriodDrama Click To Tweet

This satire has all the elements that we love – comedy, drama and romance. The funny side comes greatly at Miss Adams expense, but she really brings a lot of sparkle to the role. The major dilemma in Delysia’s life is the three potential suitors; all of whom are very different, forcing her to choose between wealth, and love. (If you love a happy-ever-after, this up ties up in a pretty package.) Some dramatic effect comes in with an impending war that threatens citizens. (A unique approach to the script is the fact that Miss Pettigrew ironically “meets” several of the characters that are about to come into her life before knowing them.)  

Apart from the superb performances, there are numerous other actors that deserve mention such as Ciaran Hinds (in the role of a rich business man) and all three of Delysia’s beau’s are debonair. (Although it’s a little odd to see the kind-hearted Mark Strong from A&E’s Emma as a callous night club owner!) Understand, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is far from perfection, but it’s such a comic romp through the 1930’s that one can almost forget its faults. There is one subplot that’s a bit trite (a man in prison with little good reason). Nevertheless, I find I did love the film and the ending is so touching that for the most part we can forgive nearly anything. It’s a day in London you’ll want to revisit.  

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day digitally on Amazon Video

Content: Delysia sleeps with a man in order to get a part. A full shot of backside male nudity plus two more instances of nudity are present. Mild profanity and other innuendos appear. Social drinking is typical. A woman is cheating on her fiancé. The film is PG13.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Rosie July 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    I've never heard of this… I wonder why. It sounds like one that I could watch over and over! Thanks!

  • Alexandra July 24, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    I've been going back and forth on this one…really want to see it, especially for Amy Adams, I've really grown to love her after Enchanted, Night at the Museum 2 and Julie and Julia and I really want to see more of her work. I think I'm going to have to check this out! :)

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com July 24, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    I loooooooooooved the film :)

  • Rissi July 25, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Rosie – this film is more fun that it has a right to be! It is one I could watch a dozen times though I haven't seen it in ages now. Must remedy that. :-)

    Enjoy if you see it!

    Alexandra – this is one that does need discretion for those who chose their entertainment with care however with Clearplay, I'd make an educated guess that it would be totally manageable.

    For me, this is one of the cutest, best flicks around. And, Amy is just adorable as always. If you like her, than I'd definitely suggest you do see this at some point.

    Thanks bunches for stopping in – always like your input. :-)

    Juju – me, too! It is one of my most favorites!

  • Lianne July 25, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    I looooooooove Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day! It was such a fun romp (there are certainly not a lot of movies like this these days) and I love that Ciaran Hinds is in a romantic lead role for a change xD It prompted me to read the novel it was based on; the details are a little different but still a lot of fun to read =D

  • Ella July 25, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    This sounds like it would be fun!

  • Rissi July 26, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    Lianne – you and me both! Though it has been FAR too long since I watched this one! I LOVE it's whimsy and comedy and acting. It is spectacular – I was smitten after one viewing. And I am not afraid to say so. :-D

    Ciaran was wonderful in this considering I usually see him as the bad guy plus the entire cast played off each other well.

    Really!? The book was good? That is awesome… perhaps I should read it sometime.

    Ella – this is adorable despite the instances of content (mainly the nudity). As Li said, you don't find movies like this anymore!

  • […] for their troubles. Fans of this era may want to indulge in this but I’d recommend the charming Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day […]

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