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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – Movie Review

August 24, 2008

I wonder if the director, Bharat Nalluri being of Indian origin has something to do with the fact that he manages to portray the prudery of the main character so well?

No spoilers:-That is what the movie is about, a middle-aged out of work governess (Guinevere Pettigrew played brilliantly by Frances McDormand), a prim and proper vicar’s daughter. She is clear about what is moral and what isn’t. She is righteous and high-minded, pedantic and stuffy…not at all surprising for a middle aged lady in England of 1939. Not that we in India of 2008 are unfamiliar with her sort – middle-aged men and women eager to lecture you at a drop of a hat if they see you up to something “immoral” be it drinking or smoking or flirting or keeping an unkempt house. People who are scandalized and outraged if they see couples kissing or women revealing skin.

Such people would definitely find it difficult to get along with normal people, and it’s not surprising that our Miss Pettigrew doesn’t get along too well either. But alas, luck doesn’t favour her…because the stern and unsmiling woman is catapulted into a situation where she has to question each and every principle she has held dear all her life. And that is where the comic element comes in…but no, this doesn’t mean that the director decides to teach poor Guinevere a lesson. As the story progresses we see the warm and generous spirit behind Guinevere’s apparent meanness…and well, as we soon realise, good things do happen to good people.

Amy Adams does a good job as Delysia Lafosse, the young girl who has stars in her eyes and a lie on her lips. There are three important male characters in the movie, Tom Payne who plays Phil, Lee Pace who plays Michael and Ciaren Hinds who plays Joe. Their roles are subordinate to that of the two women, but the story does revolve around the men.

Overall, a cute flick just right to catch on a rainy day, preferably on DVD. It’s been adapted from a book. I saw it in a theatre, but then I always like to see films in theaters. The movie is short and sweet – only one and a half hours long. And it’s got good reviews on rotten tomatoes. In India it’s been a late release, several months after its limited release in America in March. However, it was released in the U.K just earlier this month and is yet to release in countries like Norway and Spain.

(Photo credits: rottentomatoes)

Related Reading: Review of Bachna Ae Haseeno
Review of Sinngh is Kinng
More Movie Reviews.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2008 11:01 am

    The Bharat Nalluri link is broken. “they couples kissing” I guess u missed a word there. The description of “eager to lecture” persons is so apt and true. Some dont know your from Adam and they start preaching!!
    Sweet and short review. I’ll watch it. And the time duration of English movies is what appeals to me most.

    thanks so much Reeema. I did this in a real hurry. today is my hubby’s birthday and am rushing out! After making the correction, thanks! 🙂 – Nita.

  2. August 24, 2008 11:43 am

    🙂 sounds good….added to the list at the top 😛

    🙂 – Nita.

  3. August 24, 2008 2:32 pm

    Happy Birthday to Nita’s Hubby!!

    🙂 – Nita.

  4. August 24, 2008 6:20 pm

    I haven’t heard of this movie. Thanks for the review. 🙂 And please wish your hubby on my behalf too. 🙂

    thanks Amit. 🙂 – Nita

  5. August 24, 2008 6:37 pm

    I wonder if the director, Bharat Nalluri being of Indian origin has something to do with the fact that he manages to portray the prudery of the main character so well?

    Not necessarily. Mira Nair is of Indian origin and she directed “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love” which was anything but prudish. Her other movies are also what would be considered as “daring” in India. 🙂

    Amit, that was said lightly or rather, sardonically. 🙂 – Nita.

  6. August 24, 2008 7:51 pm

    sounds like a good watch

  7. August 24, 2008 9:36 pm

    We saw it in the theater and it’s a very good film.

  8. August 24, 2008 10:16 pm

    Oh the Indian auntie is the proverbial pain in the…..
    Well I guess there are two types of aunties though, aunties and auntas. The heavy weight aunta is the more dangerous one, she can not only lecture you on morality but also hit out hard physically. I remember being thrown out of a Punjab Roadways once bus by one just because I could not understand her dialect. That I am alive and well and posting here is due to my sheer good luck!

  9. August 25, 2008 1:43 am

    i too was oblivious of such a movie..
    looks interesting
    wonder when i would see so many movies,, ??

  10. August 25, 2008 4:10 am

    Sounds very interesting! I loved adaptations of old books. Will bug the local library folks to get this one now… 🙂

    I saw Mumbai Meri Jaan today Nita and liked it very much. I’d love to read your take on it!

    Devaki, thanks for reminding me that the movie is adapted from a book. I have now added this information in my post. – Nita.

  11. lallopallo permalink
    August 25, 2008 8:58 am

    Thanks for the review. I think I would like to watch this one..I absolutely adore Frances Mcdormand..after watching her top notch performance in Fargo and also in The Man who wasnt there..
    Generally, Joel Coen ( her real life husband and one of the Coen Brothers) brings the best out of her.
    Btw, what’s this your hubby’s birthday business? I dont see any mention of that in this post..or Iam turning blind? whatever, my good wishes..

    Lallo, thanks. And you don’t have to wish my husband, please! that’s in fact embarrassing for me. I just casually mentioned it in a reply to Reema and I certainly don’t expect anyone to wish him! I don’t even mention my own birthday on my blog, that’s just how I am. If it comes out in the comments, I don’t expect anyone to wish me. – Nita.

  12. lallopallo permalink
    August 25, 2008 10:04 am

    Ok ok..I just read some people mentioning that in their comments..and so I wondered..Now, I see from where did that come from…good night!

  13. August 25, 2008 5:18 pm

    Good review, May be I will watch this on DVD.

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