Miss Guinevere Pettigrew does have quite a day. It begins on a blustery London morning in 1939, as Miss Pettigrew awakens on a bench in a London train station. She had lost her job as a governess the day before, and no job prospects are in sight. She gets a meal in a soup-line but it is knocked out of her hands; she collides with a stranger, and her suitcase spills across the sidewalk. With nothing left to lose, Miss Pettigrew forms the bold plan of trying to pass herself off as the applicant sent by an employment agency to be social secretary to nightclub singer and social luminary Delysia LaFosse. (The film is based on a 1938 novel which was reissued in England in 2000, making the author, Winifred Watson, a minor celebrity at 94.)
But when Pettigrew arrives at the luxurious apartment, she finds Delysia distraught because Phil won't get out of bed. Pettigrew assures her that she has long experience with recalcitrant boys, and marches into the bedroom delivering a command to get up at once—then is surprised to find that Phil is in his twenties, and stark naked. Delysia is desperate to get Phil out of sight because her official lover, Nick, owner of the luxurious apartment as well as the nightclub where she sings, is on his way home. This farce-like situation demands from Miss Pettigrew dexterity, duplicity, and extremely quick thinking (when Nick confronts the two women with a cigar in an ashtray, Miss Pettigrew coolly lights it and starts puffing away). When the coast is finally clear, Delysia begs Miss Pettigrew to continue in the job. Miss Pettigrew agrees, but with some reservations; she notes that Delysia's life appears to be "fraught with moral complexity."
Miss Pettigrew is a wonderful character, and Frances McDormand ...1
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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
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