Sunday, March 9, 2008
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008, Bharat Nalluri)
I had severe misgivings about Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day based upon the terrible poster (oh my god, I’ve never seen legs before!) and the trailer (ugly duckling turns beauteous), but I am pleasantly surprised to report that Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is A-OK in my book.
Set in England on the bring of WWII, former governess Miss Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) and actress/singer Delysia LaFosse (Amy Adams), find themselves to be two stereotypes - the prude and the slut, respectively, who are in dire need of some mellowing. Guinevere is so terrified of the male gender that she literally runs away whenever she encounters one on the street and DeLysia is so hell-bent on advancing her career that she’s willing to sleep her way to the top with any Tom, Dick, or Harry or in this case, any Nick, Mike, or Phil. She simply can’t say no.
Miss Pettigrew helps her out in that department - she takes on the role of DeLysia’s “social secretary” and keeps the male characters from stepping all over her. In the process of their single day together, Miss Pettigrew and DeLysia mellow each other out by unconsciously taking on some of each other’s personality traits.
Miss Pettigrew gets a “fixie” (make-over), which is fine by me because she’s not necessarily doing it to improve herself cosmetically, she’s more or less discovering her previously uninvestigated womanhood, which should be embraced by every female. With or without the make-over, Miss Pettigrew helps DeLysia out by cutting out all of the bullshit with men which helps her learn about her own, previously undiscovered self-respect.
In the end, each woman does end up with a man and it does seem like a happily ever after type ending, but the women choose to partake in the relationships on their own terms and they’re not sacrificing anything (or much of anything) by choosing love. DeLysia’s mate even encourages her to have a career and wants to see her succeed. Miss Pettigrew enters her adult love life with a person her own age who respects her intelligence and wants to see her blossom into her own person.
Though it might seem trite and light on meaning because of the airy sense of humor felt throughout, I think Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is one of the more rewarding and femininely intelligent endeavors you’re likely to find at your local movie theatre these days.
Also, Amy Adams is becoming one of my favorite actresses because she consistently chooses to be apart of femme-centric films that not only question the female role, but empowers it.