Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a movie I find absolutely irresistible. As it is in my personal top ten films, I cannot pretend here to have anything but the highest esteem for it. So, with no further ado, I’ll hand things over to Annemarie to answer all of the traditional questions. What did you think of the movie? Why did I make you watch it? Could you have made it as long as Miss Pettigrew without eating? When time travel is invented can we go find them and become their best friends?
A: First of all, I’m quite concerned that Miss Pettigrew would have passed out in real life as she clearly goes more than 36 hours without consuming a morsel. We watched this film whilst stuffing ourselves with Christmas leftovers, so her pain was not quite understood by me. I’ll think back to her next time I do a cleanse though, because at least when you’re hangry by choice you can think about others who have no such option.
I knew two things going into this screening: I knew the main two cast members and I remembered that Frances McDormand eats the spa cucumbers off her eyes from watching the preview. As with most movies out there, I missed this one for no other reason than I didn’t quite get to it when it was in theatres and then didn’t quite get to it when it was out on home video. I greatly enjoyed it, but I don’t know if I’d put it in my personal top 10 or even 25. Here’s the main reason: I found Amy Adams’ character took awhile to grow on me.
At first, I was overwhelmed and non-sympathetic to her plight. The economy is depressed, girlfriend! Get your shit together. As she works through her man issues and comes to the correct conclusion to marry for love, I did warm to her and found her taxi confession to Miss Pettigrew to be a wonderfully honest moment in a whirlwind of hysterical drama she creates for herself. I’d want to hang out with the Delysia of the end of the movie, but I don’t know that I’d want to be friends with early-film Delysia.
As for why you made me watch it, it has all the trappings of a Classic Favorite of Brooke Wylie. We’ve got Amy Adams and Frances McDormand, the love quadrangle (?) with Amy and her man friends, 1930s period dress, musical numbers, fast-paced dialogue and of course, historic London. Also: Lee Pace. Did I miss anything?
I have other important questions, also, of course. What are your thoughts on Delysia’s unusual living arrangements, what was your favorite of her outfits, and given the chance, would you have made the same man decisions she made, given the decade and the options available to her?
B: I find your take on Delysia fascinating. Perhaps it’s because I have seen the movie so many times and I know her path, but I find Delysia irresistibly charming. Even having watched Amy Adams bring the house down in Doubt and Arrival I would still cite this as my favorite performance in her carrier. As all over the place as she is, there is a magnificent innocence and zest for life about Delysia that I just love. I crack up laughing at the banter between the two of them every time I watch this movie. For me, they are the perfect compliment to each other.
You know me too well AM, I’m going to have to throw some curveballs into the mix — I think you hit on everything I love about this movie. Curses.
As for Delysia’s living arrangements: It’s a pretty wonderful flat she finds herself in. If Nick travels a lot, I can sort of understand why she makes that deal, as I assume he pays her very little for singing at the club. Though, if I were her I probably would have settled for some modest spot with Michael. But then we wouldn’t have this movie if I were Delysia. No drama!
To that end, I would 100% choose Michael every time, and probably without any hesitation. New York is definitely a preferable place to be at that moment in history and Nick is a toolbag. Phillip is interesting, he’s a quite pompous, but he has an inexperienced sweetness about him that’s a lot of fun to watch. Still, Delysia and the Rabbit are giving him way too many ideas about the power a producer can hold over his stars with their bickering and competition. I get it. Delysia is as close to having nothing as can be, so she’s in survival mode, but she’s a bit too good at it for her own good.
As for the dresses, I want absolutely all of them. But the blue number that Delysia puts on to go to the fashion show and shopping is my absolute favorite. It looks silky and classy and comfortable all at once. It’s one number that I can imagine myself wearing and loving. Same question back to you, which dress would you swipe for your own?
Tell me your thoughts on our villain, Edith aka Moaning Myrtle. I absolutely adore her in this capacity. Also, how much do you love Miss P and her flirtation with Joe? We all know that Lee Pace makes me swoon like a golden era starlet, but does he register for you? Is he anywhere near your top five?
A: I’d have to go with the fur coat Delysia swaps the nightie for at the beginning. Technically, though I’m no vegetarian, I don’t condone fur, but that thing looked too cozy to say no to. Runner-up goes to the gold slinky number she performs in at the club toward the end. It was one of the most flattering dresses I’ve ever seen and Amy Adams looks divine in it. I do have to concur that New York is far, far safer than London, knowing the city is on the brink of the Blitz.
Phillip is tempting, Nick is the worst but of course, Michael is the one she loves and who truly loves her. One can understand that a survivalist like Delysia would have a tough time making the right choice, and I wasn’t fully convinced she was going to. Lee Pace is spectacular, and I’d estimate he’s in my top 20 if such a list were ever to exist.
Miss P and Joe’s flirtation-turned-real-proposal is so adorable to watch. They don’t cheer for the war as they remember only too acutely what happened the last time the world got itself involved in a war to end all wars. I do hope that they escape the worst of the carnage but I’d recommend they hightail it out of London if they can. I especially loved how Miss P is not a fancy lady but she captures herself a sophisticated fashion designer and all-around good guy.
Oh, Myrtle. Her voice, if not her entire look, are so inescapably obnoxious that I don’t know that the actress could effectively be a heroine at this point. She’s a manipulative (to little actual effect) cheater who does the female equivalent of twirling her mustache every time she’s on screen. A clear villain for this type of film if there ever was one. Perhaps she and Nick will hook up now? Phillip and the Rabbit seem perfect for each other too, now that I think of it.
Nick’s apartment isn’t exactly my aesthetic, but I can’t deny how glamorous and luxurious it is, especially given the relative poverty the Delysia comes from. I do love (like I mentioned before) that she revealed her humble beginnings as a Pittsburgh Grubb to Miss P, but I was frankly expecting such information to reveal itself and so perhaps it impacted me less? Not to say that it wasn’t satisfying, but definitely not a twist. And that’s perhaps another reason why this film didn’t strike as strong chord for me. Enjoyable, for sure. Delightful, even. But predictable? Absolutely. It’s what I’d file away as a cotton-candy movie, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t enjoy a dive into Delysia’s world again.
B: Cotton candy is a brilliant descriptor. This movie is wonderfully sweet and goes down oh so smooth — perhaps that’s why one of the cover blurbs has always stuck in my mind “a delightful champagne cocktail of a comedy!” And now that we’re well and truly charmed, I suggest we cease our prattling and run about the real world saying things like “den of inequity” and “flit, flit, flit!”
Because we have no end in sight to The Hills watching, we’re back next time with the rest of season 2’s thoughts and observations!