Sunday, March 23, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day isn't just a good movie. It's an absolute delight! Crisp, brisk, witty--it sparks and sparkles. Filled with engaging performances, including the enchanting Amy Adams as the madcap actress/singer Delysia LaFosse, Shirley Henderson (you probably know her as "Moaning Myrtle" from the Harry Potter movies) as the slyly ascerbic Edythe Dubarry, Ciarán Hinds as the gallant Joe Blumfield and of course the indisputably talented Frances McDormand as the unflappable, stalwart title character.

McDormand gives the character of Guinevere Pettigrew depth and nuance and has chemistry with EVERYONE in the film. She brings pathos and poignancy to what might have been a mere caricature of a role. But amazing as McDormand (always!) is, my hat's off to the delectably delicious Lee Pace whose Michael Pardue is truly (to quote Miss Pettigrew) magnificent. He's only on screen for a few moments before Miss Pettigrew makes that assessment, but when she does you are in complete agreement with her. Aaahhhh!

I was expecting a frothy comic romp--and was not disappointed. The amusing fish-out-of-water antics along with the frantic juggle to keep all of Delysia's balls in the air (no pun intended) make the stakes suitably high enough to ramp up the tension and keep the audience engrossed. But in addition to the comic foibles and sweet romance, Miss Pettigrew also exhibits a darker side. The tale is set in London just before the country is about to enter World War II. When a squadron of war planes flies over Delysia's raucous party, the young revelers go out on a balcony to gawk--leading Miss Pettigrew to remark to Joe Blumfield, her generational compatriot, "They don't remember the last one.."

As the story careens gleefully along to its inevitable happy ending, it may be a bit idealistic and simplistic to sum everything up with the usual "love conquers all" mentality. But everything about this movie--from the tight and sprite script by David Magee and Simon Beaufoy (adapted from Winifred Watson's novel) to the exquisite costumes designed by Michael O'Connor--is just perfection. And unlike many comic confections, this one is much more lasting and satisfying.


  1. Ooo...I was thinking of watching it just for Pace. I'm really looking forward to it now.

  2. Everyone is fabulous and the movie is a complete delight, but Lee Pace is oh so (sigh) dreamy...

    You will NOT be disappointed!