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.
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.
Miller never really fleshes out all of these colorful characters in her emotionally facile script, leaving the heavy lifting to the actors. Fortunately for The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Wright is more than up to the challenge.
Pippa's crisis of guilt -- about troubled lives she couldn't fix and parts of her personality she rashly abandoned -- is ultimately swamped by Miller's own sketchy grasp of what's funny or heartbreaking or illuminating about her characters.