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"Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" movie poster

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Bharat Nalluri
Starring: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Lee Pace, Ciarán Hinds, Shirley Henderson, Mark Strong, Tom Payne
Released by: Focus Features

In Short: London governess Miss Pettigrew is at the end of her rope as World War Two looms ominously over the city, when a chance meeting with an aspiring actress changes her day—and her life—in this delightfully wacky comedy of manners.
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Taking a Chance
What a Difference a Day Makes
by Jenny Peters

iss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” is a gem of a movie. Filled with brilliant performances, gorgeous sets and costumes, tons of laughs, and a bit of a fairy-tale ending, it is a film that is sure to delight anyone with a fondness for the old screwball comedies from the 1930’s and ‘40’s, as well as those that simply love a great romantic comedy, regardless of its era.

Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand is perfect (as usual; how can you not love her?) as Miss Pettigrew, a down-and-out London governess who resorts to a bit of trickery to snag a new position. But when she knocks on the door of Miss Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams, in another terrific performance following her Oscar-nominated “Enchanted” turn), she discovers that the available job is not to care for children, as the flighty, very single actress has none. Instead, the prim and proper Miss Pettigrew tumbles headlong into the position of Delysia’s social secretary, beginning an excitement-filled 24 hours that neither woman will ever forget.

Frances McDormand, Amy Adams and Shirley Henderson in "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"
Amy Adams and Lee Pace in "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"

There are Delysia’s three lovers to juggle (a feat Miss Pettigrew pulls off with aplomb), her career to manage, and clothes—fabulous clothes!—which help transform Miss Pettigrew into the perfect image of a high-society secretary. There’s even a possible romantic interest for our intrepid heroine. All of this is set in the midst of the onset of World War II (circa 1939), as the rich and beautiful theatrical set concentrate on parties and who the latest show to mount on the West End will star.

Adapted from the 1938 novel by Winifred Wilson by the talented, Oscar-nominated “Finding Neverland” scribe David Magee, “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” is a deftly created story, with plenty of laughs, charming characters that we quickly come to love, and a few serious moments that remind us to always seize the day. It’s a thoroughly modern movie, made in the best traditions of classic screwball comedy, and one that will make you keep smiling long after the credits roll.

PAK022108 (Updated: 03/06/08 LH)

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