Finally, a fairy tale for adults with enough sex and mischief to keep you awake straight through to the credits.
Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) has once again been dismissed from her job as governess; it seems high society is not compatible with her reverential upbringing. However, desperation forces Miss Pettigrew to push aside her reverent nature and fake her way through a day as a modern woman’s social secretary.
Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams) is an ambitious singer and starlet in dire need of someone to manage her affairs – mostly because she is having three of them. For different reasons, Delysia is currently seeing Nick (Mark Strong), the intimidating nightclub owner; Phil (Tom Payne), the young, impressionable West End producer; and Michael (Lee Pace), the devoted pianist. She is trying to do what is best for her career and status but has yet to discover what is best for her heart. In the meantime, the “wicked stepsister” (Shirley Henderson) is looking out for her own interests, pulling Miss Pettigrew into her web as she tries to entangle her prey – distinguished lingerie designer Joe (Ciarán Hinds).
If it sounds predictable, it is. But fairy tales are not meant to be cliffhangers; they are innocent and hopeful. The fun comes from watching the tale unfold. The action and dialogue in this picture tends to occur rather quickly, particularly in the first half of the film. As World War II is only now going to be affecting London, the film’s young population is still riding the waves of the roaring twenties, which included lavish clothes, loose morals and fast talk.
McDormand does the prim and proper part of her role as well as she does the quick-on-her-feet portion; unfortunately, transplantation of this portrayal into a British accent falls short. Her pronunciation of certain words can be quite poor. Adams, on the other hand, is wonderful as the bubbly starlet. Her timing is impeccable and she shows just the right amount of vulnerability at key moments. Although this role does have Adams engaging in song yet again, as long as she does not have to perform live all should be well.
And for those who have already fallen for the charming Pace on ABC’s Pushing Daisies, his portrayal of the love struck pianist will only reel you in further.
The costumes and set design are peachy, adding to the fabled atmosphere of the story. Fans of the indulgent era’s flair will relish in the colours and style.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day will make you smile and that is all it’s really trying to do.