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"MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY"
(2008) (Frances McDormand, Amy Adams) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate None *Heavy Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None None None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Minor Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A recently fired, 1930s era governess finds herself unofficially working as a social secretary for a young and upcoming starlet, helping her juggle her three lovers and other matters of the heart.
PLOT:
Guinevere Pettigrew (FRANCES McDORMAND) is a late 1930s era governess with a reputation for being difficult, which means she's just been fired. With only the clothes on her back, she desperately needs another job from an employment placement service, but she's turned down. Desperate, she spots the name and address of a needy client, Delysia Lafosse (AMY ADAMS), and heads to her place in hopes that she'll find work with her.

It turns out Delysia is a cute and charming but high-strung American socialite who's in London hoping to become a notable starlet. She's certainly had no problem attracting men, a point Delysia quickly learns as the young woman begs for her to help in juggling them. There's Phil (TOM PAYNE), the son of a theater producer who's putting on his own play, and Delysia knows she must battle Charlotte "The Rabbit" Warren (CHRISTINA COLE) for the lead part.

Delysia helps hurry him out of the flat just in time as nightclub owner Nick (MARK STRONG) arrives, desirous of a bedroom liaison with his young lover, but Miss Pettigrew likewise manipulates the scene to prevent that from happening. Then there's Michael (LEE PACE), a poor piano player who performs onstage with Delysia and wants her all to himself.

Delysia is impressed by Miss Pettigrew's ability to improvise and deal with all three men, resulting in her introducing her to her friend Edythe Dubarry (SHIRLEY HENDERSON), the high-society fiancée to clothing designer Joe (CIARAN HINDS). Edythe provides Miss Pettigrew with a complete makeover, but in exchange wants her to smooth things out with Joe over Edythe's scandalous behavior.

As the night wears on, Miss Pettigrew finds herself caught up in a world to which she is unaccustomed, but also one in which she learns she can fit in quite nicely, even if she's bluffing her way through most of it.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem likely they'll be interested in an old-fashioned, screwball comedy set in the 1930s.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some partial nudity and innuendo.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • FRANCES McDORMAND plays a recently fired governess with a reputation for being difficult to work with. Homeless and penniless, she secretly instills herself as Delysia's new hire, a social secretary. Over her head, she nevertheless bluffs her way through the job that mostly includes helping the starlet juggle her three lovers. Along the way, she briefly drinks and smokes (to go along with the part), uses minor profanity (much to her own shock), and tries to straighten out (for good or bad) various relationships.
  • AMY ADAMS plays the ditzy but ambitious American starlet who's living the high life in London, juggling three lovers, and trying to sleep her way into a play's lead role. She drinks some, and is doing some of her own bluffing while trying to climb her way to the top.
  • CIARAN HINDS plays a reserved clothing designer who's unhappily engaged to the cheating Edythe, and thus finds himself attracted to a woman more his speed (Pettigrew). He briefly drinks and smokes.
  • LEE PACE plays one of Delysia's lovers, a poor piano player who wants her for only himself.
  • TOM PAYNE plays a second lover, the young and outgoing son of a theater producer who's staging his own play and enjoys the side benefits of that (meaning bedding Delysia).
  • MARK STRONG plays her oldest lover, a nightclub owner who's also her boss. He ends up being mean to her.
  • SHIRLEY HENDERSON plays Joe's fiancée, a fashion industry woman who gives Miss Pettigrew a makeover, but threatens to take that away if the social secretary doesn't work her magic and help the uppity woman smooth over her cheating ways with Joe.
  • CHRISTINA COLE plays a young actress who doesn't like Delysia, mainly because they're competing for both Phil and the lead part in his play.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated comedy. Language consists of a number of minor profanities (enough in quantity to rate as "mild"), while various religious and colorful phrases are used.

    Sexually related dialogue and innuendo are present, as is brief/partial nudity (a man's bare butt in bed, the side of a woman's bare butt and bare hips, etc.), while a major character is noted as having three lovers, and previous, off-screen sex is heavily suggested. Another woman apparently sees a man's erection in bed, but it isn't visible to the camera, while some kissing and such occurs, as does the sight of women in 1930s era lingerie in a fashion show.

    There's a brief and lightly played fistfight, while various characters have bad attitudes (most similarly played lightly), and various ones drink and/or smoke.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there is some camera movement during a dance sequence, including a spin around shot.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A miscellaneous woman holds a drink.
  • Phil comments on sex being a good cure for a hangover.
  • Delysia states that she was a character in a movie who was holding a margarita.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks at a fashion show.
  • Michael asks, "Isn't there a decent drink in this hellhole?" He then asked Miss Pettigrew how she takes her whiskey, but then talks about drinking champagne in the past and having a resultant altercation with a tower guard that resulted in him spending time in prison.
  • People have drinks at a party, including Edythe who hands one to Miss Pettigrew who states that she doesn't drink. Delysia then tells her that it's not a drink but instead is a cocktail. Delysia then guzzles hers down to get up the courage to do something, while Miss Pettigrew later sips some of her cocktail. We then see that she has finished it, and Joe offers to get her another, and then walks up holding drinks for both of them.
  • Charlotte has a drink.
  • People have drinks at Nick's club, including Phil and others who have champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Most of the following is played lightly.
  • Miss Pettigrew sees a man nuzzling on Edythe's neck in an alley (meaning, we later learn, that the latter is cheating on Joe).
  • Homeless and penniless, Miss Pettigrew takes a card with Delysia's name on it, all without the knowledge or permission of the woman who runs the employee placement agency.
  • Following Delysia's orders, Miss Pettigrew tells an employee placement director on the phone that Delysia is dead (thus lying to the woman in order to keep her unofficial job with Delysia).
  • We learn that Delysia is simultaneously dating and presumably fooling around with Nick, Michael, and Phil (with the latter taking advantage of her ambition to land the lead role in his play).
  • Nick refers to Phil as "Andy Goldman's idiot boy."
  • Trying to impress her and thinking she won't be caught in the act, Delysia lies to Miss Pettigrew about being in several famous movies.
  • Edythe wants Miss Pettigrew to smooth things over with Joe in regards to her (Edythe) being out the night before with another man. Miss Pettigrew says she can't, but Edythe reminds her that she can return her to her former drab self just as quickly as she gave her a nice fashion and makeup makeover (thus blackmailing her, adding that she'll put her back in the soup kitchen line).
  • Upset that she isn't being faithful to him, Michael grabs Delysia, slightly picks her up, and sits her down hard on the piano.
  • Delysia is jealous of Charlotte (calling her "the rabbit" presumably due to her teeth) and vice versa, thus prompting Delysia to talk about Phil saying that he had a big appetite after last night (a sexual dig aimed at Charlotte).
  • Spoiler alert: Delysia reveals that her real name is Sarah Grub, that she's been faking her lifestyle, and is on the verge of being out on the streets if she makes the wrong move.
  • As he is seen with another woman, a man states that his wife doesn't know that he's there at a club.
  • When the lights come up in a nightclub, Delysia finds Charlotte seated on Phil's clothed lap, with one of her dress straps down off her shoulder. That prompts Delysia to make a statement related to Phil's play, but meant as a dig at Charlotte, by telling Phil to enjoy his "whore"-something (the rest of the title or character name).
  • When Nick won't let Delysia leave his club, ordering her to perform more songs for the crowd, Miss Pettigrew tells Michael to strike him, and thus he punches Nick in the face. Nick then returns the punch to Michael, flooring him, and causing Michael to hit his head hard on the steps. Michael gets up and Nick punches him again, flooring him once more, but Michael then gets up and hits Nick hard enough that he knocks him out.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • People panic in Nick's club when an air raid siren goes off, but nothing else happens
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Various large warplanes fly over the city.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Whore" (but said as a play on words with a title or character name), "Damn right," "Jeepers," "Who the devil are you?" "Bloody," "...be damned," "Idiot boy," "I'm not running around town with Oliver Twist's mom," "Why the devil not?" "I'll heave you through the G*ddamn window," "Isn't there a decent drink in this hellhole?" "It's not a drink, it's a cocktail" and "Tramp."
  • Miss Pettigrew eats the cucumbers off her eyes (put there as part of a spa-type treatment).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 11 damns, 3 hells, 2 uses each of "My God" and "Oh God" and 1 use each of "G-damn" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Miss Pettigrew sees a man nuzzling on Edythe's neck in an alley (meaning, we later learn, that the latter is cheating on Joe).
  • Miss Pettigrew retrieves a bra or similar undergarment from a chandelier, presumably from Delysia's sexual activity with Phil the night before. Delysia then says that she can't get Phil up this morning. Miss Pettigrew believes she is talking about a boy and comments on having experience with naughty boys, with Delysia then playing replying, "You too?" Miss Pettigrew then goes up to the bedroom and tells the figure under the covers to get up while pulling back the sheets. She is then shocked to see Phil fully nude, and we see his full rear nudity. In relation to her having told him to get up, he playfully states, "I kind of am up as you can see" (referring to an erection that we don't see, but she apparently does). But he then realizes that it is Miss Pettigrew and not Delysia who is in the room with him. Back downstairs, Miss Pettigrew states to Delysia that Phil is a much bigger boy than she expected, with Delysia replying, "Oh, you noticed."
  • We learn that Delysia is simultaneously dating and presumably fooling around with Nick, Michael, and Phil.
  • Delysia picks up Phil's underwear from the steps, saying he doesn't care where he undresses. She then holds up that underwear while commenting that she got the lead in his play (suggesting she slept with him for the part).
  • Phil comments on Delysia being nude under her robe and pulls her down onto the bed with him where he kisses her. He states that he heard this (sex) is a good cure for a hangover, and then playfully tells her to remind him as the producer why she is right for the part. We then see Phil shirtless in bed, and then in his boxers as he is getting dressed.
  • Saying goodbye to Phil, Delysia passionately kisses him, while grabbing his clothed butt.
  • Delysia changes from her robe into a fur with Miss Pettigrew standing in the foreground of the shot, thus blocking our view of Delysia's full nudity. Delysia then comments about liking the feel of fur on her bare skin and then slides around on a sofa in that fur, playfully.
  • Nick passionately kisses Delysia down onto a table, and it's obvious that he wants sex. Delysia wants that as well, but also wants Miss Pettigrew to run interference for her and so Miss Pettigrew does, coming up with an excuse for Delysia where Nick must wait.
  • Delysia playfully kisses Miss Pettigrew on the lips before leaving, taking the latter by surprise.
  • We see Delysia in a full body slip, garters and stockings.
  • We see various female models wearing period-appropriate, full-size corsets in a fashion show, while we also see a woman in a bra.
  • We see Delysia seated in a bubble bath, and see her bare back, while her front is covered by the side of the tub as well as the bubbles around her. Miss Pettigrew then holds a towel up for her, and Delysia gets out of the tub, allowing us several views of the sides of her bare hips as she stands there, wet and holding a towel in front of her. After commenting on having a nicely shaped body, she walks across the room, allowing us to see a brief but full side view of her bare butt. Miss Pettigrew then has her get into a robe, and we later see Delysia in a bra and a half slip.
  • Delysia is jealous of Charlotte and vice versa, thus prompting Delysia to talk about Phil saying that he had a big appetite after last night (a sexual dig aimed at Charlotte).
  • Meant sexually, Nick tells Delysia that they both get what they want by bending a bit.
  • When the lights come up in a nightclub, Delysia finds Charlotte seated on Phil's clothed lap, with one of her dress straps down off her shoulder. That prompts Delysia to make a statement related to Phil's play, but meant as a dig at Charlotte, by telling Phil to enjoy his "whore"-something (the rest of the title or character name).
  • Making small talk, Joe tells Miss Pettigrew that he used to manufacture socks, and that they are more difficult to do then brassieres. He then adds that there can be complications with the latter and that they can be easy to look at.
  • SMOKING
  • Edythe smokes at least twice, while Michael, Nick, Joe and Phil (cigar) each smoke at least once, while various background characters smoke in various scenes.
  • To cover for Delysia after Nick finds a used cigar in an ashtray (previously belonging to Phil), Miss Pettigrew pretends that it is hers, and lights it up and takes several puffs.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Joe and Edythe's engagement is off, on, and off again based on her cheating and other behavior.
  • Miss Pettigrew mentions that her husband or would-be husband died in World War I.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • We learn that Delysia is simultaneously dating and presumably fooling around with Nick, Michael, and Phil.
  • Women sleeping their way into some role or position they desire.
  • Miss Pettigrew tells Delysia that her heart knows the truth, and that she should trust it, especially since life is short.
  • Pre-WWII London.
  • Trying to make it as an actor or other type performer.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Upset that she isn't being faithful to him, Michael grabs Delysia, slightly picks her up, and sits her down hard on the piano.
  • When Nick won't let Delysia leave his club, ordering her to perform more songs for the crowd, Miss Pettigrew tells Michael to strike him, and thus he punches Nick in the face. Nick then returns the punch to Michael, flooring him, and causing Michael to hit his head hard on the steps. Michael gets up and Nick punches him again, flooring him once more, but Michael then gets up and hits Nick hard enough that he knocks him out.



  • Reviewed February 27, 2008 / Posted March 7, 2008

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