Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mr. Kruger Lives for a Film

No, no, no. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is not supposed to be a good movie. It just came out last year and says nothing about GWB or the Iraqi War so it can't possibly be a good movie.

Besides, its star Frances McDormand is best known for Coen Brothers films like Blood Simple and Fargo. She is not supposed to be all that good playing the type of British nanny that Emma Thompson could play in her sleep -- much less successfully holding her own playing opposite the unbelievably cute Amy Adams.

As you might have guessed, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is one of the few films that came out last year that I actually fell in love with. Okay, that film with the lovesick robot was not all that bad but I was actually surprised by how much I liked MPLfaD because I had gotten so used to being disappointed by most modern movies that MPLfaD actually surprised me.

Of course, it could be argued that MPLfaD isn't really a modern movie but a period piece based on a novel from the 1930s. True, it shows a bit more nudity than one would normally expect from a story set in the 1930s. Then again, after seeing the type of stuff that goes on in pre-Code films, I can't help getting the feeling that the movie might have been more at home in the early '30s than in the late '30s which is its actual setting.

In any event, the plot of this movie seems simple enough. Miss Pettigrew -- the character played by Ms. McDormand -- finds herself dismissed from a job as a nanny for the umpteenth time and then tricks her way into playing social secretary to a young actress (played by Amy Adams, natch). Her duties include aiding her young employer to juggle the three men who are apparently competing for her employer's favors: a would-be patron, a would-be spouse and an actual sugar daddy. Along the way Miss Pettigrew gets a taste of her employer's upper-class lifestyle while trying her damnedest to avoid being revealed for the imposter she is. Things get complicated -- and then they get uncomplicated.

I could say more but I rather not risk spoilers. So suffice it to say that as long as movies like this keep getting made, it seems a little hard for me to repeat the old movie cliché about how they don't make them like that anymore. Because every so often, a film like this proves that they do.

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