Monday, September 01, 2008


Written by David Magee and Simon Beaufoy
Directed by Bharat Nalluri
Starring Frances McDormand, Amy Adams and Lee Pace

MISS PETTIRGREW LIVES FOR A DAY and it is one heck of a day. She has just lost another job, can’t get a bite at the local soup kitchen and has to face the world in a hideously plain brown frock and a frazzled mess of a hairdo. These, although it certainly wouldn’t seem it, are the least of her concerns. For Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is about to meet Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). While all Miss Pettigrew’s troubles are desperately difficult, Delysia is a tropical storm on the verge of being upgraded to a hurricane and it is Miss Pettigrew’s job to keep her out of trouble.

Novice filmmaker, Bharat Nalluri’s throwback to the classical Hollywood farce is slow to start, which ultimately limits the audience that can’t get past the messy beginning. What lies afterward though is a pleasantly uplifting lesson in life and love that you’ll miss entirely if you dismiss this charmer too hastily. What lies past the film on its home video release is a fairly complete packaging. Both the full and widescreen versions are available on flip sides of the disc (which I didn’t know they still did as everyone should be in the widescreen camp by now). The features range from an enthusiastic making of to an interesting look at the classic novel’s extremely long journey to the screen (it was originally published in 1938). The director feature commentary is insightful but very quiet, as though we were watching the film in a library. Still, Nalluri knows what he’s talking about, even though he’s whispering it instead of yelling it.

While the entire premise is a tad bit too whimsical for its own good, given the realities of the looming war and the destitution that waits outside their posh townhouse doors, MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY is acted out by two fabulously talented actresses that raise this mediocre effort to heights it would never had reached had they not been cast.


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