On its obverse it’s the story of a down on her luck middle-aged nanny (Frances McDormand) who winds up in the service of a love-tangled wannabe starlet (Amy Adams) in pre-blitz London. The historic content, though, is low calorie, rightfully replaced by lavish sets, interweaving plot lines, and archetypal characters (the bitch, the sleazy club owner, the star crossed lover, etc.).
Lee Pace, the current star of TV’s “Pushing Daisies,” plays Michael, the destined lover of Adams’ love-confused starlet Delysia. Pace was excited to act in a romantic movie without the normal gratuitous sexual content.
“They [Michael and Delysia] spar, and they fight the whole movie. At the end there’s just a kiss, that old fashioned thing is nice,” he says.
Pace is nonetheless quick to point out that the film is “still a little edgy. Delysia is not a good girl, she’s kind of a [pause to find the tactful term before giving up and deciding on] slut.”
Adams, naturally, has a different explanation of her character.
“She’s a little bit manipulative – a lot manipulative,” she offers.
Her challenge as an actor was to figure out how to make the character sympathetic amidst her machinations.
“How can you at the same time give her a soul?” she queries.
Delysia is bubbly enough to charm or annoy on her own, but the script makes sure there’s pathos to keep the audience from totally writing her off. It doesn’t hurt that Delysia spends a third of the film in a bathrobe.
Miss Pettigrew offers just enough skin and style to keep it right on the ledge between pretty clean and kinda dirty.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day releases in select theaters March 7.