Friday, September 04, 2009

Must Watch Friday - Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Inspirational romance author Lyn Cote chooses Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day (2008) as her favorite Netflix movie so far this year.

A brief blurb from Netflix: "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."

I had never seen Frances McDormand, a really gifted actress before—or I hadn't noticed her. But I agree with Claudia Puig, USA Today:

"Frances McDormand is pitch-perfect as Guinevere Pettigrew, a dowdy middle-aged governess whose employment opportunities have run dry…. Adams and McDormand's performances and winning chemistry are the heart and soul of this screwball comedy set in London in 1939."

I think that I enjoyed this so much because it is romance at its best. And I love the fact that English actresses don't botox or butcher their faces. Frances McDormand has wrinkles and I loved every one. I hate those "pulled back so tight" faces that look as if the actress gave an actual smile, the skin will burst open! Shudder.

Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle gave it 5 stars and another more important reason that I loved this movie. "Guinevere feels an immediate attraction to a lingerie designer, Joe (Ciarán Hinds), whom Delysia introduces her to because he's old enough to remember World War I and knows it was no party. They whisper to each other about the horror of war and then keep on whispering."

I love to write generational stories in my historicals. Guinevere and Joe stand in the background of all the hectic youthful froth that they know is doomed. A look, a touch, a few words is all it takes for them to infuse the tragedy poised to crash over all of them--again. Such deep emotion is what kept the movie alive in my mind for all the months since I watched it.

I also love to write and read brave stories of strong women. Guinevere Pettigrew is a strong woman who has been forced to go it on her own. Near the end of the movie, she gives this advice to the ingénue, paraphrased: "I lost my love in the war. He wasn't an important man. But every time he looked at me, he smiled. We could have built a life on that."

Isn't that the essence of romance—what a woman and man can build on life on?

To read more:

My latest category romance is a Love Inspired Classic reissue of my two book series Finally Home-Finally Found

After their mother develops leukemia, the three Kirkland sisters decide that they must discover their mother's birth parents so that they will have another pool for bone marrow transplants if it reoccurs. In the meantime, Hannah in Finally Home falls in love with a handsome carpenter in Wisconsin while the other sister Spring in Finally Found falls in love with a dedicated Latino MD in Florida. Both stories are filled with tears and laughter.


To read more stories of strong women, drop by my blog . Also I always giveaway one copy per week of my latest release in its debut month for those who leave a comment. But don't forget to watch Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day!


  1. I really enjoyed this film too... Although it wasn't at all what I was expecting. But I've always thought that Frances McDormand can do no wrong after Fargo... I mean an eight-months pregnant cop who still gets her man. I love that woman.

  2. You'll be delighted to know that Frances McDormand is, in fact, that rare creature - an American actress who hasn't been botoxed/lifted/sculpted. And what an actress she is!

  3. I really loved this movie. I liked the fact that, for once, there might be a romance between two mature people in a movie. Well... I've never be able to resist Ciarán Hinds' sweet attractiveness. I must say that the soundtrack was very great too.

  4. Thanks for your comments. I'm sorry to be tardy in replying. But this was a busy weekend with family visiting. Yes,Frances McDermond is unusual for an American actress. I really hate this weird desire to remain an ingenue well into an actresses fifties. Katharine Hepburn never let anybody slice her skin. I also hate the trend that now actors are doing the same thing. Have you seen Burt Reynolds lately? He's like a parody of himself. It's a bit unnerving.