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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 144
Fresh: 111 | Rotten: 33

Critics Consensus: Miss Pettigrew is a breezy period comedy carried by the strong performances of Amy Adams and Frances McDormand.

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 11

Critics Consensus: Miss Pettigrew is a breezy period comedy carried by the strong performances of Amy Adams and Frances McDormand.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 80,970


Movie Info

In 1939 London, Miss Guinevere Pettigrew is a middle-aged governess who finds herself once again unfairly dismissed from her job. Without so much as severance pay, Miss Pettigrew realizes that she must--for the first time in two decades--seize the day. This she does, by intercepting an employment assignment outside of her comfort level--as "social secretary." Arriving at a penthouse apartment for the interview, Miss Pettigrew is catapulted into the glamorous world and dizzying social whirl of an … More

PG-13 (for some partial nudity and innuendo)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
David Magee , Simon Beaufoy
In Theaters:
Aug 19, 2008
Box Office:
Focus Features - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

All Critics (146) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (111) | Rotten (33) | DVD (1)

Adams is adorable as the wide-eyed would-be starlet, with McDormand spot-on as the sensible half of the odd couple. A delightfully frivolous screwball comedy.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

[Ciaran Hinds is] a terrific character actor, and he actually gets to play somewhat of a romantic lead in the story with Frances McDormand, which I thought was so sweet and gave this film just a little bit of gravity.

March 10, 2008
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

At least Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day has the good grace to go wrong quickly; you don't have to sit there squirming with doubt.

Full Review… | March 7, 2008
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Based on the 1938 novel by Winifred Watson, Miss Pettigrew is a veritable treat. Wisely cast, this handsome production is a delightful farcical fairy tale, bolstered by moments of depth and emotion.

Full Review… | March 7, 2008
USA Today
Top Critic

You can't criticize a soufflé for not being a side of beef.

Full Review… | March 7, 2008
Toronto Star
Top Critic

If [director] Bharat Nalluri can't always sustain the fizz, it's certainly not Adams's fault; this is another eye-catching performance from the actor, who seems to be specializing in playing dumb.

Full Review… | March 7, 2008
Time Out New York
Top Critic

Fanciful wit to spare, and Adams is sheer delight.

Full Review… | June 3, 2013
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

A valentine to a by-gone era; one of the ten best films of 2008

Full Review… | February 27, 2009
Orange County and Long Beach Blade

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a well-acted comedy with enough old-fashioned qualities to make it an enjoyable experience for long-standing audiences.

Full Review… | February 2, 2009
Fayetteville Free Weekly

The spectre of impending war hangs heavily in the background of this romantic comedy, giving it a bit more heft.

Full Review… | September 17, 2008
Laramie Movie Scope

Period comedies are a tough act to swallow for some, but if you are on the fence at all, please make sure Miss Pettigrew lives for more than just one day."

Full Review… | August 27, 2008
The Scorecard Review

There's not a lot to it really--no deep underlying message other than an exploration of women's roles in society at the time.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Shadows on the Wall

In short, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is fluffy and forgettable, but it's also undeniably entertaining, thanks to pacey direction and delightful performances from McDormand and Adams.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008

McDormand is left trying for emotional depth in a sea of middling farce and semi-sophisticated comedy.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
This is London

It's lucky that Amy Adams and Frances McDormand lend their best charms to Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, otherwise this featherweight Art Deco fancy might drift away like a soap bubble, and go 'pop!'

Full Review… | August 15, 2008

American Lee Pace, from TV's Pushing Daisies, manages not one but several creditable English accents, sometimes unfortunately all in the same sentence, but whose emotional depth shows up this ball of fluff as insubstantial. Forgettable.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Financial Times

The laughs are gentle but regular and all roles are played brilliantly, especially McDormand and the gorgeous Amy Adams as Delysia. Miss Pettigrew is 90 minutes of charming escapism - a perfect movie for mums.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Sun Online

Making a film usually involves a script, a director and a budget. Miss Pettigrew, on the other hand, is so unbelievably frothy, it looks as if it was prepared using merely a bucket of warm water and some soap flakes.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Daily Mirror [UK]

I can't imagine it appealing much to anyone below the age of 70. It offers a stale, rather than nostalgic, whiff of brilliantine and moth-eaten antimacassars.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Daily Mail [UK]

Stagey fluff, yes, but old romantics will spare a sigh for the fairytale fade-out.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Total Film

They don't make them like that anymore? Well, no. But Miss Pettigrew makes for a fun, fluffy substitute.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Sky Movies

Despite its limitations, I found it impossible to dislike this frail little tale.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Daily Telegraph

McDormand is frankly bland and unresponsive in a role she clearly couldn't care less about; Adams's wide-eyed ingenue routine is on autopilot, and the whole thing looks like a sub-prime American TV movie.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008

It's a squirming watch, at times quite tortuous because the film can never decide if it's a musical or a play with far too much music.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Times [UK]

A gentle period piece that will look more comfortable on the small screen.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008

Audience Reviews for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Cast: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Ciarán Hinds, Clare Clifford, Sarah Kants, Shirley Henderson, Lee Pace, Mark Strong

Director: Bharat Nalluri

Summary: When her gruff demeanor costs her yet another nanny position, desperate Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) wangles a job as the assistant of an aspiring American actress (Amy Adams) and soon gets swept up in a dizzying world of glamour and high society. Ciarán Hinds, Lee Pace, Shirley Henderson and Mark Strong also star in this charming 1930s-era comedy based on Winifred Watson's best-selling novel.

My Thoughts: "A charming little love story. Shows you how so much can change in just one day. I loved Frances McDormand as Miss Guinevere Pettigrew. She was funny, smart, and true to herself. Amy Adams as Delysia Lafosse was great. She was such a fun bubbly person that definitely needed a little help in the relationship area. Edythe was a spiteful character. I was glad how things ended up for her. The two love stories are cute and in the end will leave a smile on your face."


Super Reviewer

The movie has almost no plot complications or suspenseful moments, yet I love it SO MUCH! It's a floating, pattering, whirling confection of a movie, and Amy Adams fits snugly inside Delysia Lafosse. I think she can have a tendency to be pigeonholed into the ingenue role, but she seizes anything that is thrown at her and you can tell she truly delights in whatever she does, no matter how small or predictable her role is. I love the concept of stuffing a movie into a DAY; the vision of people rushing breathlessly around to fit their events in a day is not something often explored and was executed magnificently!Admittedly the story is not much but that is really the essence of the movie - it entertains and delights, but afterwards you can't really remember what happened, just that you were put in the best mood ever while watching it.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

Lee Pace and Amy Adams give their usually cute performances while Frances McDormand proves yet again that she can pull any film by its coat tails.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


I enjoyed this movie. Frances McDormand plays a down-on-her-luck governess who finds work as the social secretary for a ditsy actress. They are just what each other needs.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Quotes

Miss Guinevere Pettigrew: Not everything comes along exactly when you want it.
– Submitted by Frances H (16 months ago)

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