Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

I love Amy Adams. I loved her in Enchanted, I loved her in Talledega Nights, I loved her in Junebug and in Charlie Wilson’s War. The fact that she’s from small-town Colorado has something to do with it. The fact that she’s outrageously talented does too. I so love Amy Adams, I’d watch her in washing powder commercials, or selling funeral insurance.

On the other hand, I hate EPKs. Electronic Press Kits are like predictive text or bullshit bingo; you know exactly what they are going to say, how they are going to say it, and none of it really has much to do with the movie-going experience.

 “The director is so giving…..”

“She’s so warm and generous as a performer….”

“He’s the best director I’ve ever worked with.”

“We had so much fun.”

Yadda yadda yadda. I await the day when someone says “The director was an idiot who knows zip about directing actors and it was complete hell on set.” But I digress.

I can’t say that the EPK for Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day was particularly awful. But since Dame Frances McDormand is evidently more than a little thesp (she’s interviewed in costume, sitting on the stairs, with the set being shifted behind her – she’s THAT real) and is therefore held in terribly high esteem by other yet-aspiring ack-tors, the EPK was all a bit of a love-in. Which is a shame, because it didn’t give a fair reflection of the movie, which actually is quite sweet and entertaining.

Ms. Pettigrew is a penniless middle-aged woman who (in sheer desperation) scams her way into the life of starlet Delysia LaFosse (Adams) as her new social secretary – thereby setting in motion twenty four hours that change both of them entirely.

Set in London in 1939, as the country slides inexorably towards war, the design and cinematography is excellent, the period deco of the sets and props is sumptuous, and you can almost smell the wet wool and coal smog and lack of personal hygiene products. Apart from the odd establishing shot (hello again The Savoy!) Miss Pettigrew was mostly filmed at Ealing Studios. But since Ealing was the home of British cinema in the forties, there’s even an aptness to that.