Frances McDormand brings “Miss Pettigrew” to life

on

Some actresses — Meryl Streep,

Susan Sarandon
and Michelle Pfeiffer come to mind

— have the power to get me to the movie theater just because they’re

in a film, regardless of its reviews. Frances McDormand is one

of my favorites in that category.

Although McDormand has enjoyed

a long career, I first noticed her — as did many people — when she played

pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson in Fargo.

She is the quintessential character

actress, whose talent for playing smart, tough women with dry wit and

a very direct manner often lands her in strong supporting roles. (OK,

she wasn’t so smart in Blood Simple, but that was her first movie,

so give her a break.) I loved her portrayal of Jane, who designed trendy

and expensive clothing but couldn’t be bothered with washing her hair,

in Friends With Money.

But I’m always happy to see

her take the lead, as she does in the upcoming Miss Pettigrew

Lives for a Day
.

McDormand plays the title character,

Guinevere Pettigrew, a governess mistakenly sent to the home of American

nightclub performer Miss Delysia LaFosse. Miss Pettigrew is assigned

the task of sorting out the singer’s somewhat complicated affairs and,

in the process, finds she enjoys a life of glamour. Amy Adams

plays Miss LaFosse.

The book on which this movie

is based is one of Persephone Books‘ most successful titles. In case you

don’t know — and I didn’t, until recently — Persephone Books is a small publisher that reprints “neglected

fiction and nonfiction books by women, for women and about women
.” Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day,

by Winifred Watson, was first published in 1938 and is a great

read, as are all the Persephone Books I’ve read. I

recommend reading it before the movie comes out next year. Meanwhile,

here’s the trailer from Miss Pettigrew.





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