Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

2008 film by Bharat Nalluri

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a 2008 British / American romantic comedy film directed by Bharat Nalluri and starring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams. The screenplay by David Magee and Simon Beaufoy is based on the 1938 novel of the same name by Winifred Watson.

Not everything comes along just when we want it. There are times when decisions just have to be made, or you certainly will miss out.

The film concerns a day in the life of homeless 1930s governess Guinevere Pettigrew, who passes herself off as a social secretary and gains employment with American singer and social butterfly Delysia Lafosse, only to get embroiled in Delysia's complicated love life.

Guinevere Pettigrew

  • You people, with your green drinks and your parties and your subterfuges! You're all playing at love. One minute her, the next minute someone else, flit, flit, flit! We'll, I'm not playing. Love is not a game.
  • Not everything comes along just when we want it. There are times when decisions just have to be made, or you certainly will miss out.
  • I have no one. I am not an expert on love, I am an expert on the lack of love, Delysia, and that is a fate from which I wish more fervently to save you.
  • Your heart knows the truth, Delysia. Trust it, for life is short.

Delysia Lafosse

  • Phil's a theatre producer! Well, his father is. Phil's got his first show on at the Ambassador, and I've got the lead. Well, I'm pretty sure I have now. [Holds up lingerie and giggles]
  • Men are so untrusting. I can't think why
  • [After Guinevere confesses her 'pretending'] Guinevere, Sarah Grubb is not going to judge anybody for 'pretending'.


  • One picks up a few tricks in prison, breaking and entering being one of them.


[After accidentally bumping into Guinevere after leaving prison, spilling open her suitcase]
Michael: Oh, they'll have me back in prison for this. [Guinevere flinches back in terror] Oh. Nothing serious. Well, when I say serious...
[Guinevere flees in terror]

Guinevere: I'm afraid I walked in on your guest in his state of nature. I fear that I have outraged his sense of propriety.
Delysia: Oh no, Phil doesn't have one of those.
Guinevere: He's a much bigger boy than I had anticipated.
Delysia: [giggles] Oh, you noticed that too.

Joe: That scarf, if I may say, looks perfect on you.
Guinevere: Well, thank you. It was a present. You know, I think it's the most beautiful thing I've ever worn.
Joe: The flatterer has been out-flattered.
Guinevere: Sorry?
Joe: It's one of mine, the design. Last year, for Mimi Coture.
Guinevere: [pleasantly surprised] My goodness!
Joe: [surprised and charmed] You really didn't know? Well that is a compliment indeed, madam, thank you.

[Discussing Michael's abortive proposal attempt to Delysia and the reasons behind his spell in prison]
Guinevere: Dare I ask what happened?
Michael: After an hour and a half of bobbing around on my own, I opened the champagne. One glass didn't seem enough, one thing led to another... then I had a bit of a brainwave as we floated past the Tower of London.
Guinevere: Oh, dear.
Michael: Decided the ring I had wasn't good enough for her. And when a man wants a diamond, what better place to get one than the Tower of London? Well, the rest is all a bit hazy...

[As younger partygoers cheer a squadron of bombers flying overhead]
Guinevere: They don't remember the last one.
Joe: No. No, they don't.

Delysia: Do you know what my name is, Guinevere?
Guinevere: I was under the impression it was Delysia Lafosse.
Delysia: Sarah Grubb. One of the Pittsburg Grubbs. My father is a steelworker. No one else in the world knows that apart from Michael. And he doesn't judge me.
Guinevere: No, he wouldn't.
Delysia: But you do.
Guinevere: Me? I certainly do not.
Delysia: Oh, you think you don't, but you do. For all the fancy apartments and fashion shows, do you know how close I am to having nothing? Every day I wake up and I think, if I make the wrong move, I could be out on that street with no clothes, no food, no job, and no friends. Just plain old Sarah Grubb again. Do you know what that's like?
Guinevere: Yes, I do.
Delysia: You do?
Guinevere: In that, at least, we are alike.

[Whilst dancing]
Joe: Are you all right?
Guinevere: Yes. Well, to take another woman's escort.
Joe Blumfield: You didn't take me. I took you. I'm sure Edythe can cope. What happened to that particularly beautiful scarf you were wearing at the fashion show?
Guinevere: What are you talking about?
Joe: Despite your most elegant transformation, the body is still the same.
Guinevere: Mr. Blumfield!
Joe: As are the eyes. Most fetching if I may say.
Guinevere: [flattered but prim] I'm not sure you should say.
Joe: I'm sorry; an occupational habit. A bad one. I have to remember you're not like these people.
Guinevere: Am I terribly old fashioned?
Joe: Indeed you are. And all the better for it.

[During an air-raid drill]
Delysia: Guinevere, I'm scared!
Guinevere: It's just a drill, I'm sure it's just a drill.
Delysia: But it won't always be, will it? We're going to war, aren't we?
Guinevere: Yes we are. And that is why you must not waste a second of this precious life. Listen to me. Once I too had ambitions. Not your grand ones, simple ambitions. Marriage, children and a house of our own. He died, in the mud in France. A good, solid man. You would call him dull, no doubt, but he smiled whenever he saw me and we could've built a life on that. Your heart knows the truth, Delysia. Trust it.

[Watching air-raid spotlights being tested; regarding the oncoming war and the previous one]
Guinevere: I don't think I can bear it again.
Joe: Did you lose many?
Guinevere: Just one. You?
Joe: Almost every school friend I had. One tries to forget.
Guinevere: If only one could.
Joe: You know, I've distracted myself with ridiculous things; youth, parties, lingerie. I mean, I trained in socks for goodness sake.
Guinevere: [amused] Socks?
Joe: [mock affront] There's a great deal of engineering in a gentlemen's sock, I'll have you know. In the stitching of the heel. By comparison, designing a brassiere is a piece of cake. Not that there aren't compensations.
Guinevere: None of them over 20, I imagine.
Joe: And all very easy on the eyes. But you know what? I'm done with it. I'm going back to gentlemen's hosiery. You know where you are with an honest pair of socks.
Guinevere: You certainly do.

[As Delysia prepares to leave for New York]
Guinevere: I will never forget the day we spent together. Not ever.
Delysia: Nor I... Oh, goodbye Guinevere, I love you!

[After Joe and Guinevere are reunited]
Joe: Am I right in thinking you're no longer employed, Miss Pettigrew?
Guinevere: Quite correct.
Joe: So you're free?
Guinevere: Quite free. Might you be looking for a social secretary?
Joe: No, absolutely not.
Guinevere: Oh...
Joe: I'm looking for you. I've been looking for you all night, and I believe, all of my life. If you'll have me. [Guinevere is stunned into silence] A nod of the head will do me fine. [Guinevere nods] And I am, at a stroke, the happiest man in London.

Edythe: [coming out the back door of the club] Told you about Gerry, has she? Didn't take you long to move on, hmm Joe?
Joe: Hello Edythe.
Edythe: Did she also tell you that she hangs around the soup kitchen at the station? A tramp masquerading as some sort of social secretary, my God.
Guinevere: [slightly embarassed] Goodbye Mr. Blumfield. [goes back inside]
Joe: [standing, buttoning his jacket] No, actually, she didn't. Neither about that, nor about you and Gerry. But I'm grateful for the truth for a change.