» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

March 21, 2008
RATING: 8/10
Darlings. I write this to you from my silken boudoir, perched on a heap of dressing gowns, money, and servants. Yes, that is correct. I have abandoned my boring, polyester world for a life within a screwball comedy set in the 1930s. And who can blame me? It's lavish, it's droll, men are always wearing suits and offering champagne, live brass bands play in every corner, and someone like Britney Spears would have been escorted out of the public eye long ago. And thanks to Bharat Nalluri, director of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (the latest step in Amy Adams's ploy to charm us all so much that we just start spontaneously mailing checks), the fast-paced, irreverent, yet still somehow clean fun of the films of yore is newly resurrected in glorious color.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day begins very early on what will become a life-changing day for Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand), Delysia Lafosse (Adams), and just about everyone they cross paths with. Oh, lessons are learned, facades are destroyed, inhibitions are thrown haphazardly to the curb, that sort of thing. The plot itself isn't really anything remarkable. No, no, this is a film that gets by purely on the intricacies of the writing, the actors' performances, lavish costumes, and solid directing. That's entertainment! In fact, the only parts of the film that don't slide seamlessly into the lush mood are the parts into which Nalluri tries to slip in some middle-aged, wholesome contrast (Miss Pettigrew has a habit of taking a breather when things get too heady, usually to think about war and loss and drab clothing or something). But even those moments are easily forgiven, thanks largely to McDormand's effortless portrayal of a dowdy old maid fallen accidentally into the lap of luxury, much to our delight.

Amy Adams, of course, doesn't shock anyone by pulling off yet another giggly, wide-eyed creature who, at key moments, allows her smile to perceptibly falter just enough to reveal The Person Behind the Glee. I don't mean to be a cynic. I love her just as much as anyone else does, and I guess it is kind of surprising to see Princess What's-Her-Name (Entendre? Chantilly? Bellisima?) manipulating several dudes by using her (gasp) sexuality. All that sickening dependence on men (for few of them really care much about her) would get my Bryn Mawr up if the sound advice that steers her course didn't come from another, stronger woman.*

There are probably a hundred more things to say about silks and dresses and Shirley Henderson, but it would be difficult to do so without spoiling everything. Plus, my old-fashioned phone is ringing in its cradle. It's probably my best galpal ringing to discuss girdles and the Depression. I'll catch you all at the club later on.

*Although, to be fair, Miss Pettigrew herself is eventually reliant on a man's charity, but since she is instrumental in activating his common sense as well, and since everybody's so adorable, and since, well, it's the Thirties, I'm prepared to forgive.

SEE ALSO: www.filminfocus.com/focus-movies/miss-pettigrew/synopsis.php

Susan Howson
A staff writer attending graduate school in Richmond, VA, Susan Howson cannot be persuaded to stop talking about movies.

See other articles by Susan Howson.



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