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Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day 

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day is never very funny and for a while it looks disastrous. The film's 1940s screwball antics seem not so much breathless as out of breath. The score by Paul Englishby takes no prisoners in underlining every gag. Eventually, the film develops authenticity. It still isn't funny, but director Bharat Nalluri, whose weird resume includes Tsunami: The Aftermath and The Crow: Salvation, captures status-based romance and the swing music boom in ways that are as much an evocation of '40s-movies as of the reality of the era.As Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) becomes the governess for actress Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), their class barrier is equated with a questionable difference in values. Lafosse is free-spirited and conceited; Pettigrew is intelligent but never has any fun. It's a set-up for the predictable arc of the characters breaking from their shells. Their romantic misadventures offer satisfying senses of change and hope, which is what Nalluri was after in the first place.

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Vol 26, No 43
March 21, 2019

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