Gala / UK premiere

The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee

  • Rebecca Miller /
  • USA /
  • 2008 /
  • 93 mins

Robin Wright Penn, Blake Lively, Alan Arkin, Winona Ryder, Ryan McDonald, Maria Bello, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, Shirley Knight, Zoe Kazan, Mike Binder / Fiction / English

A doting wife. A perfect mother. But Pippa Lee wasn’t always like that…

A move to a retirement community for the super-rich with her much older, successful publisher husband triggers something of a nervous breakdown in Rebecca Miller’s eponymous heroine (Robin Wright Penn), in this fine adaptation of her own novel. Miller makes the most of her illustrious ensemble cast – Alan Arkin, Keanu Reeves, Julianne Moore, Winona Ryder – in this witty and intelligent drama about why we become what we become.

2009 Archive

Image from The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee

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  • #1 Leona Campbell / Friday 19 June, 2009 / 22:43 GMT

    My second film of the night and I have to admit to being a little wary going in that this could be one of those movies with hype for the wrong reasons. I was delighted to find that was NOT the case. The movie is really outstanding, my personal highlight was getting to see mother and daughter relationships shown on screen that felt real and organic, rather than paint by numbers. The whole cast are superb but Robin Wright Penn really blew me away, her performance is just perfect for this film.

    The picture is put together brilliantly and as a viewer you can feel the fact it's been a film made with alot of love for the story and the detail which made this a hugely enjoyable experience.

    There is so much good to talk about with this movie, it's a film that I will definitley see again when it comes on general release and I'll be recommending all my friends go to see.
  • #2 David Reid / Saturday 20 June, 2009 / 08:11 GMT

    I thought the film was excellent also and Alan Arkin and Robin Wright Penn were magnificent. Highly recommended.
  • #3 Mike Hall / Saturday 20 June, 2009 / 13:20 GMT

    My first movie of this years' EIFF, and I came out thinking 'poor man's American Beauty' or, more accurately, 'poor woman's American Beauty'. A nailed-on-chick-flick that veered awkwardly between comedy and drama, I found it hard to empathise with all the characters bar the lead, and indeed the main redeeming feature of this film is the excellent subtely-nuanced performance by Robin Wright Penn (great to see her at the premiere, as stunningly gorgeous in real-life as she is one the screen). I thought the title was misleading (the 'private lives' relate to her younger self, rather than anything current, and didn't really seem especially 'private'), and that the 'stop repressing who you are and let the real you out' message was so much better conveyed by Kevin Spacey et al in American Beauty. But perhaps that's just my limited male perspective coming through. The film - a disappointing 5/10, but I'd increase it by 1 due solely to the wonderful lead performance.
  • #4 Caroline Armstrong / Thursday 25 June, 2009 / 12:25 GMT

    It was a nice film just not terribly gripping. Maybe I went into it expecting too much. The flashback scene at the dinner party with the ex wife was great as it brought together a lot of the reasons why her life is what it is today and everything fell into place. The mother-daughter relationship theme was well portrayed (although I spent the first half of the film thinking her kids were her siblings, the age gaps were so strange within the family- however, this was explained later).

    Keanu Reeves has some strange ways of 'praying' and is his usual self throughout. By which I mean every part he plays he ends up the same. I'd give it 7/10 as it was insightful and interesting but not terribly engaging. I was left wanting more.

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