out of Five
Running time: 92
Enjoyably fluffy British farce, enlivened by a pair of perfect performances from Amy Adams and Frances McDormand.
What's it all about?
Based on a novel by Winifred Watson, this British comedy is set in London in 1939 and stars Frances McDormand as dowdy domestic drudge Guinevere Pettigrew, who keeps getting fired from nannying jobs. When her agency declares they're washing their hands of her, she overhears details of a potential client and rushes over to intercept the job.
She soon finds herself working as a maid-slash-personal assistant to ditzy screen siren Delysia La Fosse (Amy Adams) and is thrown in at the deep end as she tries to help Delysia juggle her three boyfriends: penniless songwriter Lee Pace, theatre producer Tom Payne and sleazy nightclub owner Mark Strong. Meanwhile, Miss Pettigrew feels the glimmer of her own romance when she meets the charming Joe (Ciaran Hinds), only to discover that he's engaged to Delysia's designer friend, Edyth (Shirley Henderson).
This is an enjoyably fluffy farce, enlivened by two terrific performances from Frances McDormand and the always-delightful Amy Adams. Their relationship forms the heart of the film and is genuinely touching, ensuring that you might shed a tear or two, in amongst the laughs.
The film also benefits from a strong supporting cast, particularly Shirley Henderson, who's wonderfully bitchy as Edythe and who, frankly, has been off our screens for too long. In addition, the production design is superb and the film maintains a suitably screwball pace, courtesy of director Bharat Nalluri.
There are several delightful scenes here, particularly the first meeting between the two leads (with Miss Pettigrew forced to think on her feet, surprising even herself with a series of snap decisions) and a lovely scene where Adams sings "If I didn't care".
In short, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is fluffy and forgettable, but it's also undeniably entertaining, thanks to pacey direction and delightful performances from McDormand and Adams.
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (PG)