Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day
The Players: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Lee Pace, Tom Payne, Mark Strong
The Makers: Bharat Balluri (Director), David Magee & Simon Beaufoy (Writers), Focus Features.
Based On: Winifred Watson’s 1938 novel of the same name.
Run Time: 92 minutes
Extras: Making Of, Deleted Scenes, Commentary with the Director.
It’s hard to decide who is more perfect in their role: Frances McDormand as the reserved Guinevere Pettigrew or Amy Adams as voracious Delysia LaFosse. The two main characters of this film are wonderfully portrayed separately and as a duo. It’s 1939 in London and the war is about to break out at any second. Miss Pettigrew, a frizzy haired, destitute and unemployed governess shows up on Delysia LaFosse’s doorstep expecting to be employed to look after her son. Instead she finds a bubbling ball of nervous energy in the form of red headed Delysia, an aspiring actress and nightclub singer in desperate need of a social secretary to help keep her out of trouble. High jinks ensue as Miss Pettigrew undergoes a make over and helps Delysia stay out of the beds three potential suitors, each offering her different parts of the high society world she so desperately wants to live in. For audiences, and certainly for Miss Pettigrew herself, on the surface the film is a fun look at a day in the life of a hopeful, young wannabe screen siren. However, director Bharat Nalluri has created a visually delicious look at London’s pre-war high society that keeps viewers enthralled throughout the entire film, with gorgeous art deco sets that leave no opulent stone unturned and a cast draped in stunning suits and evening gowns that emulate 1930s style perfectly. Performances by the leading ladies are both touching and comedic, as they play off each other in every scene, while the supporting actors playing Delysia’s suitors are wonderfully portrayed with cocky arrogance by Lee Pace, Tom Payne and Mark Strong, each one likeable and frustrating at the same time. The DVD offers some great inside looks at how Nalluri and the actors worked to create their 1930s personas and the behind the scenes footage of modern London transformed back to the pre-war era is well worth a look. This film is a wonderful romp through a day in the life of two completely opposing characters thrown together in ridiculous circumstances and is highly recommended.
In A Word: Delightful!