Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Comedy,Drama,Romance Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

“Love is not a game.”

Those are the words of the lively, intelligent and enduring Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) to one of the assortment of whimsical characters caught up in the free spirited web, and high life of upper class London in the weigning days before the start of World War II.

In this fun ensemble dramedy, Directed by Bharatt Nalluri, down on her luck Miss Pettigrew stuggles to hold a job, finding it hard to cope and connect with the egos and lifestyles of the upper class citizens she’s assigned to assist. After being let go from yet another job, Miss Pettegrew steals the number for a new client from her job agency, and shows up at the doorstep of bubble-headed, abnoxious, adorably cute, and free-spirited Delysia (Amy Adams), just in time to help solve the wannabe starlet’s problems with men. Mainly the crisis is that she has three different boyfriends, all of whom vie for her time and affections. The trouble for Delysia, is that two of the men, Nick (Mark Strong) and Phil (Tom Payne), offer Delysia professional gain, while the third, Michael (Lee Pace), may hold the key to her heart.

Filled with wonderful, vibrant characters, a goofball plotline, great acting, wonderful costumes and an amazing period art-deco feel, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a fun movie that also holds tremendous humanity and heart within itself. Another wonderful device is the very old-school approach to story telling, in which the Director and screenwriters literally throw the viewer into the middle of this chaotic circle of people and the drama that connects them. Nearly everyone in the film is trying to win over someone else for purely selfish reasons, and in so doing, unwittingly scorning another in the process. Enter Miss Pettigrew, with her no nonsense approach to things, and her horrible secret of not belonging, and the movie sets itself up wonderfully. Frances McDormand is perfect in the title role, and carries herself with both a sense of authority, as well as bewilderment and enough of a hint of sadness within her, that we identify with her and are drawn to her character immediately.

Young Amy Adams (most notably from Enchanted) is marvelous as the naive bubbleheaded starlet, and carries herself well in her many scenes with McDormand. She also has a subtle sexy quality to her that makes her, and her character very fascinating. She is absolutely stunning in this movie. Her trio of would-be boyfriends all also play there roles well, especially Lee Pace, who plays the down on his luck everyman very well, and the chemistry he has with Adams is undeniably sweet. Both of them put themselves into there roles so completely that its hard not to get lost in the old style love plotlines and the authentic period costumes, music and sets. Add to that the well developed sense of dread with the War approaching, and the contrast between the younger characters and the older ones who still remember, and are haunted by, World War I.

The film is wonderfully sweet, and impossible to take your eyes off of. The film jumps into the plot quickly, in the opening scene actually, and never lets up. Its a true testiment to the writing and the Directing that with such a short film (92 minutes) they still got so much across and we still find ourselves so invested in whats going on. Miss Pettigrew herself is the most well developed character in the movie, as she becomes caught in this aristocratic world of power, greed, wealth and fame, and thru it all, manages to stay true to herself and teach the younger characters around her that Love is not a game, and not something that comes along when we choose.  The film is lavishly designed and features a few wonderful 1940s style dance sequences that are a true, and delightful wonder to watch. Although the film is dreadfully predictable, its pure, lighthearted innocence more than makes up for it. Point in fact, the predictability of the film only lends itself to the old school feel, and assures the viewer that they are in for a fun, good natured movie, and one that will almost certainly put a few smiles on your face along the way.

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