Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

To me this is a Chick Flick with enunciation problems. It has a wonderful cast even though most of us went strictly to see Frances McDormand ("Blood Simple," "Paradise Road," "Lone Star" and "Fargo") who is Miss Pettigrew. To any of you who have the least trouble understanding dialog in films where they whisper or confide in low tones, wait for the DVD so you will have captions.

For everyone else, go see this frothy piece set in the late 1930s London, which depicts a ditzy American actress and singer, played by Amy Adams ("Enchanted" and "Charlie Wilson's War"), as she juggles her three men:
  • Lee Pace ("Infamous" and "The Good Shepherd") who plays Michael, the pianist who loves her. He looks like either Colin Farrell or Clive Owens' younger brother. A key moment takes place when he forces her to sing "If I Didn't Care" as part of her nightclub act.
  • Tom Payne (British TV), as Phil, the besotted young lover she is manipulating into both marriage and a starring role in his next big theatrical production.
  • Mark Strong ("Stardust" and "Syriana") is Phil, the smarmy lover/promoter who owns both the elegant apartment where she lives and the nightclub that employs her.
McDormand is a just-fired governess/nanny who, in a desperate move (it's the 1930s, so "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" plays in the back- ground during the montage that illustrates her tribulations), bluffs her way into a day's worth of employment with the actress.

During the course of the day (because she doesn't want to be seen with Oliver Twist's aunt!), the actress takes Miss Pettigrew shopping ("Any- thing Goes" is on the soundtrack), where our doughty heroine meets a fashion designer, played by CiarĂ¡n Hinds ("Persuasion" and "There Will be Blood"). Actually, she dumps her lunch on his shoes...

Lots of elegant sets, costumes, food; lots of period automobiles and street scenes; lots of sappy situations solved by clever maneuvering by Miss Pettigrew. It's funny and light, but deucedly difficult to hear. I know I'll enjoy the DVD.