Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

16 March 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for 90 Minutes

For my first movie of 2008, I wound up seeing Bharat Nalluri's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which is a star vehicle for Amy Adams more than it is anything else. It's a silly little movie exactly like a dozen other movies just like it, mostly from the 1930s (and mostly directed by Frank Capra). Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a lot, in fact, like the movie inside Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo. Still, I liked this champagne cocktail of a movie, and its two stars are very likable indeed. The movie also stars Ciarán Hinds, Lee Pace, Tom Payne and Shirley Henderson (love her).
It's about a down-on-her-luck English governess who gets fired by everyone and then lucks into working for an American club singer named Delysia LaFosse. Miss Pettigrew is transformed by Delysia into a new woman with a change of clothes and a bit of makeup. She then begins to help Delysia out in myriad ways, sorting out her complicated life and giving loads of relationship advice, also finding love herself along the way.

It's really homoerotic at times, too, which I thought was fun. And Shirley Henderson, who is sort-of the villainess of the piece, is great fun too. Actually, the whole thing is fun, heady nonsense. The boys in Delysia's life are pretty, the costumes are lovely. The films frantic quality is endearing, and I thought it was cute. It's nothing more than that, but it doesn't really wish to be either.