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72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Day Worth Viewing
Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is the governess of last resort. No, that doesn't mean she turns naughty children around. In fact, she doesn't seem to be able to keep a job. Fired from her last job, she literally has nothing. And her employment agency is tired of trying to find her jobs. After all, jobs are scarce in 1930's London. Desperate, Miss Pettigrew takes...
Published on August 23, 2008 by Mark Baker

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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A double Pygmalion (3.5 stars)
When I first saw the trailers for this film, I thought, "Oh no, not another _My Fair Lady_."

"Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day" is a whole lot more than the 'fix her up to catch a man films' that get sold to the public on a daily basis. What ends up happening is that Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) and Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams) end up teaming up to help...
Published on March 8, 2008 by R. Kyle


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72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Day Worth Viewing, August 23, 2008
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition) (DVD)
Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is the governess of last resort. No, that doesn't mean she turns naughty children around. In fact, she doesn't seem to be able to keep a job. Fired from her last job, she literally has nothing. And her employment agency is tired of trying to find her jobs. After all, jobs are scarce in 1930's London. Desperate, Miss Pettigrew takes the address of a client, a Delysia Lafoose (Amy Adams).

When Miss Pettigrew arrives at the address, she finds Delysia in crisis. While saving the day, Miss Pettigrew learns that Delysia isn't looking for a governess but a social secretary because they are fashionable.

And Delysia definitely needs help sorting out her life. She's a singer who wants to become an actress. But she's having huge man problems. Specifically, there are three men in her life. There's Phil (Tom Payne), who she has slept with to gain the lead in the play he is producing. There's Nick (Mark Strong), who owns the nightclub where Delysia sings every night as well as the apartment where Delysia lives. Then there's Michael (Lee Pace), a piano player who has proposed to Delysia and has spent the last year in prison waiting for an answer.

Miss Pettigrew is definitely out of her element, but she seems to be helping Delysia juggle everything. Can she keep up and guide Delysia at the same time?

Yes, this movie is a predictable romantic comedy. But the ride is quite enjoyable. The first half is almost farcical in tone with many laugh out loud moments. The second half becomes more serious with fewer laughs but many very touching moments. But by that point you are so invested in everyone's lives you have to stay and see how it turns out.

The acting holds things together perfectly with the entire cast balancing the comedy and emotion. But I've got to praise the two leads. Frances McDormand's facial expressions provide some of the best laughs in the first half. And Amy Adams keeps Delysia from being a mindless fluffy character. Instead, we truly care about her from her very first scene.

While this is a mindless comedy, I think its appeal will skew slightly older. Even with the partial nudity and double meanings, this movie will appeal most to adults and less to the teen and early twenty crowd.

I found this romantic comedy fun and charming and think that any adult will feel the same way.
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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One day leads to others..., September 29, 2008
This review is from: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition) (DVD)
Amy Adams. Angelina Joli. Sarah Jessica Parker. Frances McDormand. Odd, huh? Three younger beauties who can act. One maturing woman, not-so-beautiful, can stand equally with them. Star power? Inner beauty? Confidence? Frances McDormand has It which others can see.

"Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" is a fine vehicle for our Frances. She plays the low-key Miss Pettigrew, freshly out of a job, desperate for a new one in pre-war London, as she has no apartment and no possessions other than what she has on her person. Why can't she keep a job? Because she is painfully truthful!

Through a fluke she acquires the address of a rich, young American singer and inquires within. What this American needs is a therapist/parent. What she gets is Miss Pettigrew, a magical godmother in the guise of "social secretary." You see, Delysia McFosse is morally confused in her quest to be a stage and screen star. She currently is sleeping with three men: one for an apartment and unlimited funds, one for a movie role, and one for fun. The plot suggests that Delysia loves this third one. He definitely loves her!

Circling this bankrupt moral code in a bankrupt time of war is Miss Pettigrew. One follows the code. This is a rule for both society at large and individuals up close. By movie's end Miss Pettigrew has touched and impacted behavioral changes both refreshing and dynamic. Not only does she point Delysia in the right direction, she unexpectedly and inadvertently shows Delysia's cold-hearted, man-eating friend for the scoundrel she is.

In impacting behavior around her, the starving Miss Pettigrew finds herself in dire circumstances once again. Instead of being a fairy godmother, Miss Pettigrew needs someone to watch over her. Someone does come and fulfills her dreams. All's fair in love and war. This is love and it is very fair!! Indeed, in living for a day, Miss Pettegrew will live the rest of her life.

What a charming and delightful movie! Highly recommended!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Brother, can you spare a dime?', August 23, 2008
By 
This review is from: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition) (DVD)
The lead-in cinematic and musical elements for this delightfully entertaining, fast paced, little bit of nostalgia film prepares the viewer for the story as well as any 'overture' could. The setting is London in the 1930s, the day of the first blitzkrieg, and the tone of the imagery is that quiet depression and angst that tainted the world during that time. We meet our main character Miss Guinevere Pettigrew, a dowdy, middle-aged failed governess as she wanders through the streets and soup kitchens - all to the tune of 'Brother, can you spare a dime'. This 'day in a life' abruptly changes when Miss Pettigrew, still saddened by the loss of her beloved in WW I and struggling to be moral as the daughter of a clergyman in a world gone to tatters. How she finds one day of joy - and in the process changes the lives of those she encounters - is the line of the story, a screenplay by David Magee and Simon Beaufoy based on the novel of the same name by Winifred Watson and directed with a fine sense of timing and comedy cum pathos by Bharat Nalluri.

Quite by a fluke Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) absconds the name of a potential client from her caustic job finder and rings the bell of one Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), a beautiful young American manipulator of men living in one boyfriend's luxurious flat while entertaining others who may help her reach her dream of being a star on the musical stage. Delysia believes Miss Pettigrew to be a social secretary and immediately involves her in the game of her life of flirtation and illusion. Miss Pettigrew, at first shocked by the 'social setting', soon adapts and indeed supports Delysia's efforts of meandering through gentleman callers, and as Delysia finds Miss Pettigrew indispensible she dresses her well and introduces her to a life Miss Pettigrew finds quite foreign but equally fascinating. In rapid fire sequence, at times overlapping like a Keystone Cops movie, we meet Delysia's paramours (played with devilish glee by Tom Payne, Mark Strong, and Lee Pace) as well as high society dames (Shirley Henderson) and the one man who seems above it all - Ciarán Hinds. All of this wild dash through the superficial society affairs is played against the all but ignore threat of the impending WW II and it all happens in one day. But at the end of that day the bond between Miss Pettigrew and Delysia is genuinely sealed and for a moment at least it seems Miss Pettigrew's previously dour existence has changed.

A fine cast, an intelligent director, a creative cinematographer John de Borman, and a well informed musical director Paul Englishby make this bit of froth into a confection that contains some social commentary ingredients. The costumes and sets are splendid and provide a view of London before the devastation of the war that is rich in nostalgia. Not a great movie, but a delightful romp that allows McDormand and Adams the opportunity to demonstrate their considerable comedy gifts. Grady Harp, August 08
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Amazing Actresses Create a Fine Movie, April 9, 2008
By 
I was absolutely bowled over by the performances of Frances McDormand & Amy Adams in this movie. Naturally I expect nothing but the best of Ms. McDormand, who won a well-deserved Oscar as the pregnant policewoman (with fantastic accent) in Fargo. And she never disappoints. Her metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly was wonderful to see.

Amy Adams played a very difficult role. It would have been easy for Delycia to seem slutty &/or scheming, but somehow in Ms. Adams' capable hands she was loveable and even a little innocent. I found her charming, and her singing voice is lovely.

The storyline held my interest throughout, and I loved the happy ending for both women. I must admit that I was glad Delycia and Michael got out of London before the blitz.

At the end of the movie, my husband surreptitiously wiped a tear from his eye. That from him is high praise. Well done, one and all!
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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A double Pygmalion (3.5 stars), March 8, 2008
When I first saw the trailers for this film, I thought, "Oh no, not another _My Fair Lady_."

"Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day" is a whole lot more than the 'fix her up to catch a man films' that get sold to the public on a daily basis. What ends up happening is that Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) and Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams) end up teaming up to help each other. You see, the unattractive failed nanny who's been eating out of soup kitchens and the lovely ingenue inhabiting a wealthy man's penthouse while she juggles two other boyfriends have more in common than you would think.

"Miss Pettigrew" takes place on the first day of the London Blitz, so add pre-war tensions, and you've got an interesting film on more than one level. Don't get me wrong, the film's still predictable and light, but it does both quite adequately for a snowy afternoon. If you enjoy that time-frame's costumes, music, and just a dash of history (not enough, sadly) this is a film worth catching.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this movie!, March 26, 2008
Nothing but fun from beginning to end. We left the theater feeling happy, a rarity with all the doom and gloom, bloody shoot-'em-up movies that are being made today. Great acting, good writing, beautiful sets...and lots of laughs. Where else can you get all that for under $10?

Amy Adams is AMAZING. Is there anything she cannot do?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming Screwball Farce Captures the Pre-World War II Period Well with a Game Cast, January 3, 2009
This review is from: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition) (DVD)
Directed by Bharat Nalluri, known previously for actioners and thrillers, this 2008 trifle pleasantly surprised me as it is an assured throwback to the effortlessly breezy 1930's screwball farces with some added serious undertones capturing England at an uncertain time as the country was preparing for another world war. In look and manner, the film is reminiscent of Stephen Frears' 2005 Mrs. Henderson Presents, but I find this a comparatively more entertaining concoction thanks to the sly performances of Frances McDormand and Amy Adams. The featherweight plot centers on Guinevere Pettigrew, a starchy governess turned out on the street with prospects for future employment looking dimmer by the moment.

Suddenly homeless and penniless, she acts rashly in a moment of desperation behind the back of an unsympathetic employment agent by stealing a referral for a social secretary to a bubble-headed American actress fancifully named Delysia Lafosee. Instead of the nanny job she thought she pilfered, Miss Pettigrew finds her vocation to be juggling the three men in Delysia's life - surly nightclub owner Nick who owns Delysia's nicely furnished flat; young theatrical producer Phil who is considering Delysia for the lead in his latest West End production; and penniless accompanist Michael just released from prison and back to reclaim Delysia's heart. Complications stem from Delysia's uncompromising need to land the part in Phil's musical, but naturally she cannot control her heart. Miss Pettigrew faces complications of her own when she finds she has to help social climber Edythe Dubarry fix her relationship with lingerie designer boyfriend Joe despite the fact that Joe is falling for Miss Pettigrew.

It should come as no surprise that everything sorts itself out in the screwball-breezy screenplay by David Magee (Finding Neverland) and Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, Slumdog Millionaire). What is surprising is how fluently Nalluri directs the proceedings without pulling out a sledgehammer for the encroaching wartime atmosphere. He is smart enough to realize this type of airy farce depends on the fleet tone by which his actors can carry the story. In this respect, casting is ideal as the chameleonic McDormand brings convincing British reserve and her smart comedy chops to the title role. Adams has a field day as Delysia providing measured balance to her innate sprightliness at key moments. Shirley Henderson makes the most of a scene-stealing part as manipulative, helium-voiced Edythe. Even the men fare well in this picture - Tom Payne as shallow Phil, Mark Strong as burly Nick (hardly recognizable as the same actor who sharply played the Jordanian head of intelligence in Ridley Scott's Body of Lies), and best of all, Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) showing genuine matinee idol appeal as Michael and Ciarán Hands bringing worldly charm to the erudite Joe.

All the grand period detail is lush and impeccably presented from Sarah Greenwood's production design to Michael O'Connor's costumes to John de Dorman's cinematography. The extras on the two-sided 2008 DVD tend toward the predictable. Nalluri provides dry audio commentary where he belabors the technical details at the expense of any other aspect of the production that could have been more interesting. The widescreen version is on one side along with eight minutes of deleted scenes and an interesting eight-minute making-of featurette which focuses on the author of the original story, Winifred Watson, while the full screen version is on the other side with an expendable 18-minute promotional featurette heavy on film clips.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WILL BUY LATER FOR A SECOND VIEWING: 4 1/2 stars, April 23, 2008
By 
Harold Wolf "Doc" (Wells, IN United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is a delight film with none of the killing and blood that movie makers seem to think makes for a hit. So what if you do see the young guy's buns, but the movie is a romance, not a sex film. Big difference. My wife and I both enjoyed this and laughed through several scenes. The theater viewers' reactions almost made a second delight. A truly fun movie filled with comedy, romance, period costumes and scenery (England) as well as such wonderful music.

The music alone is worth the purchase. Perhaps the book as well, since it is based on a book by the same name. I can't recommend the book (YET) but go to the movie, or buy the DVD when available, or perhaps the CD. I'm sure you'll enjoy those. One scene we'd seen in the trailer was deleted in the movie. That's just one more reason we'll be buying the DVD--to see the deleted scenes.

I give it only 4 1/2 stars because the story has a bit of a predictable ending. But even the predictability of girls getting the boys was a fun day with Miss Pettigrew. Yes! The entire movie takes place in a single day. If you have a day with as much fun packed into 24 hours as Miss Pettigrew, you'd remember it, and it would make just as good of a movie as this one. Bottom line...try it in some media form.

You too, can live for a day, like Miss P.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sweet and Suble Surprise, June 17, 2014
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This review is from: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition) (DVD)
I purchased this film on my cousin's recommendation and was so glad I did. I have been a fan of all of the actors (loved Mark Strong's too short appearance) and they did not disappoint. it goes right up there with my other favorite sweet and surprising films, Enchanted April and Cold Comfort Farm. Will watch it multiple times not only for the feel good ending but the fun of how all the characters get there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a hidden treasure., January 26, 2013
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It is a wonderfully entertaining comedy, with lots of excellent acting from the whole cast.

I have been waiting to see this movie since I saw it advertised in 2008. I was in & out of the theaters so fast I did not get to see it. I waited to see it on Netflix Streaming, but was never available, so I finally broke down an rented it. I must say that I was not disappointed. This is a hidden treasure.
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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Widescreen & Full Screen Edition)
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