Sunday, March 23, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day

It's no big secret that I'm an art deco fanatic. This obsession started in junior high when I became addicted to black and white 1930s musicals (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Busby Berkeley, etc.), gained momentum during architectural history classes in college, and fully matured during my swing dancing/flea market days (and close association with a full-blown art deco fiend.)

Last week, I treated myself and saw Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, knowing full well that it would be the kind of fantasy that I always wished was my life. Calling cards. Catty women with elaborate hats and cigarette holders. Cage elevators. Shopping trips that play out like personal fashion shows with the chicest clothes. Social secretaries. British accents. Singing in a supper club. Falling for your earnest but penniless piano player. (Sigh.)

In addition to all that, the art direction was sublime. I want Delysia Lafosse's flat! For me, watching the movie was like going to the Queen Mary... I was practically salivating over every piece of moderne decor I saw. In fact, I think it probably took away from my involvement in the story... I was that much in awe of the scenery.

In any event, I do recommend the movie even if you don't know your streamline from your zigzag. It has a nice sweetness to it. Amy Adams does well as the effervescent Delysia in a perfectly mannered performance and Frances McDormand shows the right amount of mature weariness as Miss Pettigrew.

Also, I love the well-framed still that was chosen as the focal point of the movie poster:
To me, it says a lot about the movie without actually giving it away.

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