"Compromising Morality Tale"
MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY, set in London, England just before World War II, is about a prim unemployed nanny, a clergyman’s daughter, who changes many of her Christian values when she begins working for a promiscuous actress. Despite some excellent acting, MISS PETTIGREW is a lackluster bedroom farce, a confused Romantic fairy tale with some anti-Christian elements that are somewhat undermined by the movie’s ending.
MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY is based on a novel by Winifred Watson, who the producer claims was ahead of her time because she wrote about women changing their lives, flouting conventions, refuting class barriers, and engaging in extramarital sex.
This particular story takes place just before World War II. The Great Depression has hit England very hard. Miss Pettigrew is a nanny who keeps getting fired because she keeps enforcing her very conservative, stuffy, clergy daughter views on the families where she works. Finally, the employment agency gives up on her. She is starving and steals from the employment agency the business card of a woman who wants a social secretary, Delysia. Delysia, played by Amy Adams, is really Sarah Grubb from Pittsburgh. She wants to be a London stage star and is trying to sleep her way to the top.
Miss Pettigrew walks in at the right moment as Delysia is trying to get rid of a naked producer before another boyfriend, a cabaret owner, comes up the stairs to see her. She is living at the cabaret owner’s spacious apartment. Miss Pettigrew, using her severe confidence, gets rid of the young producer and the cabaret owner. Delysia takes her to a lingerie fashion show to give her a makeover. One of the designers, Joe, takes an interest in Miss Pettigrew. This hardly seems possible since Francis McDormand is so homely in this movie. The cabaret piano player, Michael, is in love with Delysia and knows who she really is.
Will Delysia get her big break? Will these men find out about each other? Will Michael sweep her off her feet? Will Miss Pettigrew find true love at last and abandon her Christian convictions?
MISS PETTIGREW is a lackluster bedroom farce. Even though the point, made with insistent clarity, is to strip Miss Pettigrew of her moral virtues, it is actually her moral virtues that help Delysia make the right decision at the end. Amy Adams does an incredible job of playing Delysia. She can vamp with the best of them. Her sliding around on the couch in a mink coat is provocative. Francis McDormand is a terrific actress. She is perfect as a stern disciplinarian, but it is totally beyond belief that the rich cultured Joe would fall for a woman whose true home is the railroad station and soup kitchens. This may be a Romantic fairy tale with an anti-Christian agenda, but the confused casting, lackluster direction and plodding plot do not prove the author’s point.
It is interesting that there are several period pieces trying to trade on the success of Jane Austen movies. However, while Jane Austen and the previous crop of period pieces stood for Christianity and morality, the latest movies seem to be saying that the English have always been immoral and the Church has always been stuffy and out of sync with reality.
Rather than watch this lackluster farce, MOVIEGUIDE® suggests you rent SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. You can find more about this movie and other family-friendly fare with a special Internet Archive subscription at www.movieguide.org.
(RoRo, Ab, B, LL, V, S, NN, A, D, MM) Strong Romantic worldview with some anti-Christian content as the protagonist gets over the moral upbringing of her father, a Christian clergyman, although at the end there are some moral elements; 10 obscenities and two profanities; intense fistfight; implied fornication, constant discussion and some innuendo of multiple sexual relationships, and very promiscuous character; full rear male nudity and revealing female nudity with discreet placement of soap suds, towel, mink coat, and lingerie, plus lingerie fashion show occurs; lots of drinking, including clergy daughter learns how to drink and enjoys it; smoking; and, bedroom farce lying, cheating and stealing little things.
MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY is set in England just before World War II. An unemployed disciplinarian nanny and clergyman’s daughter, Guinevere Pettigrew, finagles a job with Delysia, an American actress trying to sleep her way to stardom on the London stage. Delysia takes her to a lingerie fashion show for a makeover. One of the designers, Joe, takes an interest in Miss Pettigrew. Also, a cabaret piano player, Michael, is in love with Delysia and knows who she really is. Will Miss Pettigrew and Delysia find true love?
MISS PETTIGREW is a lackluster bedroom farce. Even though the point is to strip Miss Pettigrew of her moral virtues, her moral virtues actually help Delysia finally make the right decision. Amy Adams does an incredible job playing Delysia. Frances McDormand, as Miss Pettigrew, is a terrific actress, but her makeover is not convincing. This may be a Romantic fairy tale with an anti-Christian agenda, but the confused casting, lackluster direction and plodding plot do not prove the point. Rather than see this, MOVIEGUIDE® suggests you rent one of the more morally uplifting Jane Austen movies, such as SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.