Saturday, January 25, 2014

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) [PG-13] ****

It's London in 1940, the era of big bands and Swing music, and Delysia (Amy Adams) is a nightclub singer living with Nick (Mark Strong) the club owner. Since she aspires to be an actress, she's also involved in a dalliance with Phil (Tom Payne), son of a wealthy producer, whom she hopes will cast her as the lead in his new play. But the man she truly loves is Michael (Lee Pace), who's just been released from prison for trying to steal a diamond for Delysia. Michael plays piano in Nick's club, although he plans to ask Delysia to marry him and sail away to New York on the Queen Mary.

At the same time, Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) has just been sacked from her third nanny position. At the employment office she steals the card with Delysia's address, thinking it's for a nanny position, but Delysia thinks she's hiring Carole Lombard's former social secretary. From the moment they meet, Miss Pettigrew gently but firmly takes Delysia in hand, helping the scatterbrained young woman to sort out her romantic life and choose her professional destiny. Meanwhile, Miss Pettigrew finds herself caught in a romantic triangle with Joe (Ciaran Hinds), a suave, handsome lingerie designer and Edythe (Shirley Henderson), a mean-spirited clothing store owner.

This film doesn't take itself too seriously; it's a light, frothy confection which succeeds because of a great screenplay. The casting is excellent with every actor solidly fulfilling their role. Essentially a female buddy movie, Delysia and Miss Pettigrew each possess strengths the other lacks. Delysia is young, lively and free-spirited, while Miss Pettigrew is older, grounded and practical, with a wonderful dry sense of humor. The music, costumes and Art Deco sets do a great job of immersing us in the period and the mood. Amy Adams essentially reprises her princess role from Enchanted, so if you enjoyed that film, and you enjoy Frances McDormand, you might like Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

Labels: comedy, romance

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 63/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=66, viewers=70)

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