The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee

"Excellent"

The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee Review


As a more emotional take on the themes examined in American Beauty, this internalised drama is subtle and unpredictable. It also features terrific performances from an eclectic cast.

Pippa (Wright) is married to the much-older Herb (Arkin), a publisher who hates that he's now retired. But it's Pippa whose world is starting to unravel, as she reaches the point where she needs more than being a trophy wife and mother to two now-grown kids (Kazan and McDonald). Her sleepwalking antics indicate that her subconscious has already figured this out, but it'll take a look at her childhood (played by Lively and youngster Madeline McNulty) to help her see what she needs to do next.

"I've had enough of being an enigma," Pippa says early on. "I want to be known." This is the core idea explored in this insightful film, which probes how identity is linked to circumstances. In Pippa's case, her life as a wife and mother was satisfying while it lasted, but she now needs to be defined by who she is, not whom she cares for. This is a resonant theme that we can really identify with, even if Pippa (and the whole film) feels somewhat unfocussed.

But Wright delivers a remarkably likeable, introspective performance; we can see her inner light start to flicker as she reluctantly upsets her ordered life.

And both Lively and McNulty are terrific as well, while the supporting cast around Pippa is fairly jaw-dropping. In addition to the always wonderful Arkin, plus a hilariously brittle role for Ryder, there are telling cameos from Moore (as a rebellious "aunt"), Bellucci (as a sexy ex), Binder (as a clueless author) and Bello (as Pippa's mercurial mother). And Reeves is effective in his role as a neighbour's disillusioned son, whose stony exterior hides a soft centre that's understandably attractive to Pippa.

The film is packed with gentle observations, including the fact that Pippa has an addictive personality. And while some scenes are indulgent or rather emotionally muted, the film is also blackly funny and shot with a remarkable fluidity by Miller and cinematographer Declan Quinn. It's a beautiful look at someone who feels that they may not be needed anymore and, as a result, is having "a very quiet nervous breakdown". And in the end it's the unexpected twist on ideas of happiness and sadness that lingers.



The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th July 2009

Distributed by: Screen Media Films

Production compaines: Elevation Filmworks, Grand Army Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 51 Rotten: 24

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Pippa Lee (as Robin Wright Penn), as Herb Lee, as Chris Nadeau, as Kat, as Sandra Dulles, as Sam Shapiro, as Ben Lee, Cornel West as Don Sexton, as Grace Lee, as Suky Sarkissian, as Dot Nadeau, as Young Pippa, as Gigi Lee, Adam Shonkwiler as Chester Sarkissian - Age 22

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.