Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): PG
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 14th November 2009.
PLEASE NOTE: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Not the kind of film, I guess, you’d expect to find in my blog, but I must admit to being a bit of a fan of Frances McDormand. Ever since I first saw her in Fargo (1996) I have been an admirer of her work. In fact I recently watched and reviewed her most recent film, Burn After Reading (2008). But I digress; this film is set in London just before the outbreak of World War II, where Miss Guinivere Pettigrew is a rather unsuccessful nanny. Via a bit of subterfuge she ends up at the door of Delysia Lafosse, an American club singer and socialite who is in need of a social secretary. And this is where Miss Pettigrew’s day begins.
It’s quite a complicated plot, so I’ll just give you a taste of the action. Thinking that she is to be employed as a nanny, Miss Pettigrew thinks nothing when asked by Delysia to get Phil out of bed. She soon discovers that Phil is a little older than she had expected. He is putting on a show in the West End and Delysia has been trying to persuade him to give her the leading role. Having got Phil out of the flat, it’s not long before Nick arrives. Some quick thinking on Miss Pettigrew’s part gets him on his way and they head for a fashion show where they meet Joe Blumfield and his much younger on/off fiancée Edythe DuBarry. After the show, they take Miss Pettigrew to Edythe’s boutique and get her a make-over and some new clothes. On returning to the flat they discover Michael Pardue, Delysia’s pianist at the club and who is the only one who truly loves her for who she is, but she still has higher ambitions… Told you it was complicated! I won’t say any more, but believe me, its well worth watching.
A really well made film, I liked the kind of washed out colour effect used which fitted the period really well. Great performances from all of the leading cast, in particular Frances McDormand as Miss Guinivere Pettigrew, Amy Adams as Delysia Lafosse, Lee Pace as Michael Pardue, Ciarán Hinds as Joe Blumfield, Shirley Henderson as Edythe DuBarry, Mark Strong as Nick Cordorelli and Tom Payne as Phil Goldman. It starts of as a kind of screw-ball comedy come farce, but there is an underlying seriousness that is brought out in conversations between Guinivere and Joe. They are both of a similar age; both remember the First World War and both lost loved ones in that conflict. I think, because of that serious aspect, I enjoyed this film a lot better than I would have done otherwise. Overall then, a really enjoyable gentle comedy with a hint of reality which, I think, gave it a little edge over similar movies.
My score: 8.3/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0970468/
Official Site: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Official Site