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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)



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

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

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



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 80,965

My Rating

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


Drama, Comedy

David Magee, Simon Beaufoy

Aug 19, 2008


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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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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 | Comment (1)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop 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.

March 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop 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.

March 7, 2008 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

March 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop 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.

March 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fanciful wit to spare, and Adams is sheer delight.

June 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

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

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Orange County and Long Beach Blade
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.

February 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Fayetteville Free Weekly
Fayetteville Free Weekly

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

September 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
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."

August 27, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

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

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: This is London
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!'

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent

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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Financial Times
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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Sun Online
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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK] | Comment (1)
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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

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

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

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

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

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

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian | Comment (1)

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.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

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

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

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."
August 5, 2011

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.
July 30, 2011

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.
August 2, 2010

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.
July 11, 2010

Super Reviewer

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