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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 75
Fresh: 51 | Rotten: 24

Reverential and offbeat, the road trip film Private lives of Pippa Lee takes emotional detours and is elevated by great performances, particularly that of Robin Wright-Penn.


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 9

Reverential and offbeat, the road trip film Private lives of Pippa Lee takes emotional detours and is elevated by great performances, particularly that of Robin Wright-Penn.



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Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 17,585

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Movie Info

Rebecca Miller (The Ballad of Jack & Rose) adapts her own novel with this comedy drama about a woman who begins a second life after her husband leaves her for a younger woman. Pippa Lee (Robin Wright) is the loving mother of two grown children, and the wife of successful publisher Herb (Alan Arkin). Despite the fact that she's 30 years Herb's junior, Pippa and her husband have never fallen short on things to talk about. She's always enjoyed the hustle and bustle of New York, but after Herb


Drama, Comedy

Rebecca Miller

Mar 2, 2010

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All Critics (76) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (24) | DVD (1)

As a woman under the influence of everyone but herself, Pippa often feels lost when she's on her own - a blank slate with no one holding a chalk - Robin Wright Penn allows us to get to know a character who still doesn't really know herself.

July 4, 2010 Full Review Source: NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a deliberate quality to the storytelling that makes the movie drag in many scenes; and yet, numerous characters flit by that we don't have time to really meet.

February 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie has the busy-aimless feeling of a cocktail party rather than a rigorously constructed drama. Interesting people drift through, anecdotes are shared, attention shifts here and there, and abruptly it's time to go.

January 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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A superb performance by Robin Wright Penn illuminates Rebecca Miller's intelligent and revealing look at the inner wild child beneath a 50-ish Connecticut matron.

January 15, 2010 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Awkward in ways both intended and not.

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By turns antic, frantic, and dull, Pippa Lee is unconvincing -- emotionally, dramatically, filmically.

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A feel-good film, both disconcerting and rewarding on all fronts.

August 12, 2010 Full Review Source:

... for once in a [Rebecca] Miller film, the chuckles are generally intentional ...

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Penn is such an intelligent performer that it's easy for us to believe everyone else in the film sees a different side -- a different life -- of the enigmatic Pippa Lee -- and that there are still many other sides to this fascinating character...

January 22, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Robin Wright Penn gives an award-caliber performance in the title role of a woman trying to find her place in the scheme of things after moving with her older husband to a retirement village in suburban Connecticut.

December 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian

All the midnight bulimic binges, suicide attempts, sleepwalking, marital chicanery, and little pills don't mean a thing compared to the thrill of being a middle-aged woman sneaking through the bedroom window like a teenager in heat.

December 15, 2009 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Just as The Twilight Saga: New Moon taps into to the sexual yearnings and psychic disturbances of pubescent girls, so does The Private Lives of Pippa Lee for the perimenopausal crowd.

December 12, 2009 Full Review Source:

The movie holds your interest with a series of loosely connected episodes, but leaves you in a frozen and distant state.

December 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

Provides a nice role for Robin Wright Penn, but it's a film in search of a tone.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Perhaps "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" might have been a stronger film had it focused on a single private life instead of a cornucopia of them.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source:

The results are honorable but not terribly interesting.

December 11, 2009
Kansas City Star

Penn is the best thing about the movie.

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

A heart felt effort but too slow to be called completely entertaining. Plenty of time to think in between crises.

December 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

If anything the film suffers, appropriately if unfortunately enough, from being too eager to please.

December 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Movieline

Audience Reviews for The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Very good movie which, I have to admit, I sat there bored through for the first 40 minutes. It was only when it got to the scene with the first wife that I started to understand the events that had shaped this dull-on-the- surface married woman.
Blake Lively is excellent as the younger Pippa, as is Robin Wright as the older one.
I really wished I had paid more attention by the end, I think this one deserves a rewatch and is the kind of movie that will grow on you as you find yourself thinking of it the next day. Subtle, but beautifully done.
January 22, 2012

Super Reviewer

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee works as an involving high-end soap, the strong performances, writing and fractured chronology easing us past the more melodramatic twists.
Robin Wright performs naturally and makes her character hold more depth and presence then was imaginable. And Blake Lively performs her part so beautifully.
Believe me about Winona Ryder's character does remind me and looked familiar to her 1999's Girl, Interrupted character role - so impressive!
October 26, 2010
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

It was kinda good not a great movie but made it worth the while. What most interested me was how it was gonna end been such a unknown movie for me. Acting was decent from everyone except Robin Wright, she really took it up a notch and delivered big time on her role as Pippa Lee.

The film stars Robin Wright Penn, as Pippa Lee, and Allan Arkin as her husband Herb Lee.

The plot revolves around Pippas emotional issues that lead her toward an affair with Chris Nadeau (Keanu Reeves). Herb has also grown tired of the relationship, and is having heart problems.

In an interesting twist the plot flashes back to a younger Pippa played by Blake Lively, that gets spanked by a dominatrix named Kit (Julianne Moore). Pippa is involved in lesbian bondage films before having a torrid love affair with Herb, who helps her to get her life together.

There is also a rather dramatic scene where Gigi Lee (Monica Bellucci) points a gun at Pippa, and then ends up committing suicide. The scene is somewhat similar to the gun scene in Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona where Penelope Cruz goes into a violent rage.

Pippa Lee features outstanding performances by Robin Wright Penn, Allan Arkin, and Blake Lively. The film is well written and directed by Rebecca Miller.

Pippa Lee is a really good indie film that most Robin Wright Penn, and Blake Lively fans will enjoy.
June 24, 2010
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Pippa Lee (DE)
  • Les vies privées de Pippa Lee (FR)
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