Mar 2008 12

This adaptation of a book by the same name is a fun period film for the actors to have some fun in, and they do, but ultimately is a bit off in a couple of areas and doesn’t gel overall as a film.
Amy Adams and Frances McDormand star as a bubbly, American, wanna be actress and a British nanny who is down on her luck, respectively. The film takes place over the entirety of one day and that plot device constrains the film and only serves the purpose for a food joke that I can see. The film also involves a love triangle for McDormand and a love square Adams and it’s all a bit much to cram into a day and constricts us from getting us to know what all of these relationships are about or believe those that are ignited over the course of just one day. The film also tries to teach us about the threat of war and the affect it has on love and family and serves as a connector for a couple of characters, but again, it just inst executed very well.
Now, I have laid out a number of things that don’t quite work, but it’s nothing that is just horrible or so wrong to ruin the movie. In fact, the performances of Adams, McDormand, Ciarán Hinds, and Lee Pace are fantastic, with the women really shining.
Adams runs around as a bumbling ditz but is extremely likable and works very well with McDormand as they make her up while conniving and confusing the three men in Adam’s life. McDormand sells the whirlwind feeling, as well as the quick on her toes mind set that Pettigrew is forced to adopt to keep up with Adam’s Delysia.
Ciarán Hinds is great in his biggest role of the last year, and he has had many, and proves that he can be more then that supporting right hand man kind of actor. Lee Pace is also good in his post-Pushing Daisies feature debut and proves that he could have a leading man life down the line in his career.
The films period look is very good, believable, and feels authentic. The film also sneaks in a nice musical number with the talented Adams as well that is possibly the finest moment of the movie.
Everything doesn’t really gel though. Adams has to deal with one to many guys. The film should have been spread out over a few days at least to buy into the believability of the relationships and build a connection. And the scope of the film could have been a little bit bigger, as it feels almost like a play.
But in the end, this Miss Pettigrew is a funny and moderately entertaining flawed piece of work. The acting is great but the stories leave something to be desired as well as some pacing issues in a couple of slower spots. I will recommend the film though if you are a fan of any of the actors or if you were interested before hand, but don’t expect this to win you over if you aren’t appealed from the get go.


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