Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Lee Pace, Shirley Henderson, Ciarán Hinds, Mark Strong

Directed by: Bharat Nalluri

Rating: 1 2 3 4

Frances McDormand blossoms as Miss Pettigrew

Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is not having a good day. Sacked (yet again) from her job as a governess and struck from the books of her employment agency, she's reduced to sleeping in Victoria Station – until, with a slip of subterfuge, she accidentally finds herself employed as a social secretary to ditzy ingénue Delysia LaFosse (Amy Adams).

And boy does this flirty, feather-brained ginger Holly Golightly need a secretary – to juggle her many admirers. If it's not rich sugar daddy club owner Nick (Mark Strong) it's the cocky teenage impresario Phil (Tom Payne) – not to mention the love of her life, penniless pianist Michael (Lee Pace). Just as well, then, that the resourceful Miss Pettigrew takes to her exotic new life like a frumpy brown duck to rosewater, transforming into a swan under the stylish guidance of her new boss and her icy fashionista buddy, Edythe Dubarry (a superbly bitchy turn from Shirley Henderson).

Amy Adams as Delysia Lafosse in Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

Yes, the plot may be flimsy and see-through as Delysia's negligee, but Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a thoroughly charming little movie, a nostalgic frothy comedy that even the shadow of impending war cannot darken. Amy Adams is as irritatingly adorable as she was in Enchanted, channelling the flighty spirit of Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot as she lurches from one clinch to the next, while Lee Pace turns in another performance as her besotted suitor Michael.

Sweet, silly but at times surprisingly moving, Miss Pettigrew may be fluffy on the outside, but inside it has a heart of gold in Frances McDormand's heroine, whose strong, charismatic sympathetic performance both carries and grounds the frivolous fun.

If you like the wartime nostalgia of Mrs Henderson Presents, the feelgood fun of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or the cynic-suckering happy ending of Breakfast At Tiffany's you're sure to enjoy this delightful slice of 1930s nonsense. Yes, walk a day in Miss Pettigrew's sensible brogues and you'll soon find yourself dancing on air.

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