Sunday, May 10, 2009

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - 2008

I was looking for a good movie to see this weekend. Tasveer and mediocre ones like Aloo Chat are still around. Among the English ones I had a choice between Underworld, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I tried to cart my son along for Underworld, but he refused to go. So Underworld went out of the window, it's no fun watching a movie of that sort alone.

I would have picked Confessions Of A Shopaholic if it weren't for a comment on a friend's blog that she couldn't watch the movie on DVD as it was so boring. Boring is a word that's really scary. So I settled for Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, as I remembered reading a favorable review somewhere. Frances McDormand's presence on the cast clinched the deal further. It is directed by Bharat Nalluri.
Am I glad I followed my instincts ! Wholeheartedly !

Ms. Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) has lost a job and has been denied the wages for the last week even. She is at the lowest point in her life, having to eat at a soup kitchen, sleep at a train station. She visits her employment agency next morning to find the door slammed in her face, but she nicks a visiting card before she leaves. The visiting card belongs to Delysia Lafosse. She decides to visit Delysia and offer her services.

Just as she rings the bell to Delysia's apartment, she has second thoughts but returns to make another try. The door opens to a beautiful young woman (Amy Adams) who is obviously very flustered. She has one lover in the bed, another on the verge of a visit and another devoted one who waits in the wings, and never the three should meet. She throws her problems right at Guinevere Pettigrew and finds her quite capable of managing them. So Delysia hires Ms. Pettigrew instantly and tags her along with her everywhere for the day.

As it turns out the skittish Ms. Delysia is facing several dilemmas at the moment and is sorely in need of a wise counselor.  She has just done with trying to seduce the son of a famous producer, Phil (Tom Payne) in order to bag the lead role in his play. However, she is also in a thrall of the owner of a nightclub where she sings, Nick (Mark Strong). He keeps her in luxury, the fancy apartment she lives in is his and he is in no hurry to give her up. True Love beckons in the form of her piano player Micheal (the delectable Lee Pace). It is the night of reckoning - who does she finally submit to? Phil and a career on the stage? Nick and Luxury? True love and two tickets to New York with Micheal? She looks at Miss Pettigrew for answers to this and finds her own views changing through various points in the day.

Ms Pettigrew is pretty needy herself. She needs a job, food, security for future. She hasn't eaten in a long time, her soup at the soup kitchen the night before had spilled before she could take a spoonful, Delysia's cupboard is bare and she got only drinks where ever she went. Her genteel hunt for food is a delight to watch. She isn't looking for love but is drawn to handsome and successful Joe (Ciaran Hinds) - a lingerie designer who is a sought after bachelor. In this glittering glamorous world of shallow silly socialites, four people try to find love.

It is a totally feel-good movie, a romance. Despite its breakneck pace, you find yourself finding out almost everything about the characters. The loveless Ms. Pettigrew who has struggled to survive in this heartless world, a successful Joe who is at last fed up of being the darling of the beau monde and wishes to design Gentleman's Socks. Micheal, who just loves Delysia and wants her for himself exclusively. The scheming Edyth who wants Joe for his rich contacts. The young Phil who just wants to be able to sleep around.

Everything is brought to life perfectly. The times, the language, the ambiance, the dresses, the cars are all faultless. Amy Adams looks gorgeous, she plays the simpering silly socialite with her heart in the right place to perfection. Frances McDormand is perfect as ever. She speaks like a true governess here. Her language is a delight to hear. Just after encountering Delysia's naked lover in the bed - She tells her - "He was in the state of nature".

The men look absolutely handsome and yummy, especially Lee Pace.

It reminded me somewhat of Breakfast at Tiffany's, I guess because, Delysia is herself a high society climber and the ambiance is similar.


  1. sounds like a very good chick flick ... I would have gladly gone for underworld :P (big surprise, right!) Am glad you enjoyed the movie.

  2. wonderful review, avdi. this movie is in my queue, it went automatically on when i realised frances mccormand (& ciaran hinds to a lesser degree) is in it, i love her in whatever she does. cant wait to watch!!!

  3. Yep EISI - chick flick - a flick a chick with flock to ..

    Huge fun.

    I wanted to see Underworld because of your recco - but junior wouldnt agree.

  4. CP - That young guy - Lee Pace looks yummy. Frances and Amy Adams light up the movie.

  5. I too wanted to see it but somehow completely forgot about it. Thanks for the review.

  6. Amit - I found the movie delightful.

  7. soemhow i didnt like the movie .. too glossy ,maybe ! loved the book thou 1

  8. Hey even I watched confessions of a shopoholic & I think al of us have it somewhere in us...Guess u shud watch Angels & Demons if u did like Da Vinchi......

  9. Daz - I liked the flashy because it was about a bygone era. I must read the book, it sounds promising.

    Val - I am not a huge fan of Dan Brown. Sigh . Didya like the Shopaholic movie?

  10. May be I will but mostly I will not...

    Watch it that is :)

    Based on a book is it??

  11. Hmm, guess will catch it on DVD if I get my hands on..... no hunting..

    Now that it has a feel of Breakfast at tiffany's, I might hunt.. :)

  12. yes smita, based on a book. Its like a totally feel good movie n will not hurt you.

    Vee - tumko zaroor achchi lagegi. I liked the subtle touches in it.

  13. Yes I did the shopoholic movie....was fun and then it was a cool chick flick!

  14. Well, sigh.. it is kinda late now, the movie is off the cinema halls. I guess I will wait till star movies shows it.