Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

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This is yet another one of those movies that I have wanted to see for years but have only gotten around to today. In a word, it was delighted.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day, directed by Bharat Nalluri, is a romantic comedy released in 2008. Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is an out of work governess in Pre WWII London. She lies her way into a position as a social secretary for American actress Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). Pettigrew quickly learns she is in over he head when she discovers Amy Adams is drowning in scandal after scandal, trying to balance three men, one who controls her future career, one who controls the purse strings, and one who actually loves her. Pettigrew has to keep Delysia and herself off the streets.

I am very aware that this is not a very deep movie. It is not very challenging or thought provoking. And yet I still had a blast watching it. I couldn’t stop smiling. I think that all comes down to a few specific things: First, Amy Adams put on a great show. Her character was willing to go to great farcical lengths to keep her three romantic interests at bay, much to the audience’s amusement. Second, the overall witty nature of the film and the snappy pace. It reminds me of a Restoration play. Sorry, English major, can’t help it. But my favorite thing about this movie was by far the music. Set in the late 1930’s, this film is full of big band music, swing and jazz. It really brought this movie to life. I was dancing in my seat. Not well, but that’s not the point.

But, as many romantic comedies do, this movie has quite a few cliché. It was most obvious in two places. When Delysia decides to marry the man that actually loves her, they of course kiss, and the crowd around them which doesn’t really know what’s going on, starts clapping. Yeah, that’s convincing. I’m eating dinner at a club and now suddenly the singer is making out with the piano player and even though I don’t know why their doing it this seems like a stepping stone for their relationship so I’m going to clap with wild enthusiasm. The other moment is at the very end after Miss Pettigrew finds herself once again unemployed and sitting at the train station. Of course, queue love interest. He shows up in a billow of mist and says “I’ve been looking for you all night. Actually, I think I’ve been looking for you all my life.” Very sweet sentiment to be sure, but couldn’t the screenwriter have come up with a line that hasn’t been used in fifty other movies?

Oh well. Since this was not a serious movie, I’m not going to take it too seriously. It was a grand two hours of fun. For that, I give it a 6 out of 10.

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