Sunday I went with my mother and sister to see Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. As movies that I'm forced to see with my family go, this is the best I've seen in years. On its own merits, it's not bad. Plenty of faults, but plenty of virtues, too.
Once again, I have to insist that Amy Adams is a good and charming actress, able to bring subtle hues of weight to otherwise shallow characters. But even better was Frances McDormand, who here brings nuance to a character in a screwball comedy that reminds you of how important character depth can actually be in such films, and how much that depth needs to come entirely from the mannerisms of the actor or actress.
Also excellent on that front is Ciaran Hinds, whom I've noticed in a number of movies (most recently There Will Be Blood) and have always been impressed by him. Here, I have to agree with Richard Roeper, who notes, "he actually gets to play somewhat of a romantic lead in the story with Frances McDormand, which I thought was so sweet and gave this film just a little bit of gravity."
An enormous part of the movie's appeal for me was also, of course, the 1930s clothes and hair, which were gorgeous.
I thought my sister and I might watch a movie at my parents' house, though it's never a guarantee that I can convince her to watch any of the movies I bring over. This time, an odd, inexplicable instinct prompted me to put Picnic at Hanging Rock in my bag. When I turned on the television after coming back from Miss Pettigrew, I saw that IFC was showing Picnic at Hanging Rock. Apparently IFC thinks it's an Easter movie, too. Who am I to argue?
My sister actually ended up watching it with me. It was oddly fitting, and its drowsy atmosphere kind of jived with my sleep deprivation.