The Private Lives of Pippa Lee – Mill Valley Film Festival

I picked the movies I wanted to see at the festival for more than one reason or another and this one of course I could say I picked because I relate to it more ways than one. I guess I am one in a million target audiences for this sort of genre. A bit of comedy, alot of drama and some suspense, which if timed just right could be the perfect recipe for success.

I was able to get my hands on a ticket for the movie screening of The Private Lives of Pippa Lee so it was very easy to take part in viewing the movie without the dramas of the Clive Owen tribute. The audience was a mix of female friends, couples of course and a few singles, very predictable audience no doubt and no surprise to anyone, a pretty full house to boot.

Just so we are all on the same page, here is a bit of background. The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is a story about a woman (Robin Wright Penn) crippled by a midlife crisis but of course in denial as a result of it, tries to find answers and excuses to her often bleak outlook on life. Meanwhile her much older husband (Alan Arkin) tries to not only ignore her cry for help but finds ways to add to it. Enters the neighbor’s son (Keenu Reeves) who, through his own charming insecurities adds the final touches to the complex problems Pippa is faced with in her own personal crisis.

With a solid supporting cast, such as Maria Bello, Blake Lively, Monica Bellucci and more, author, screenplay writer and director Rebecca Miller in my opinion, got this one right. The movie not only pulled at our heartstrings throughout but also connected us with the characters because of their familiarity to us all.

Robin Wright Penn should certainly be nominated for Best Lead Actress for her performance. Alan Arkin gave an outstanding performance as well, not surprising but rather pleasing to see another side of him, different from his uniform roles in Sunshine Cleaning and Little Miss Sunshine. Reeves is just eye candy as usual and the chemistry was predictable between him and Pippa.

Some of my favorite scenes, which were also the focal points of the movie were: As Pippa tries to express her anxiety to someone while not being able to figure out her troubles, she calmly stops, takes a breath and says “I wonder if I am having a quiet nervous breakdown?”. It was in this scene that we began to relate to Pippa and together with her try to find a solution to her problems.

The other powerful scene is when she finally comes to terms with her life and everything begins to make sense, she again says calmly “It’s official nobody needs me!” And this is the part where you finally understand why she makes the choices that she does and find yourself rooting for her to pull herself together and move to a positive direction in her life.

Although confrontations in real life are often painful and tearful, Miller decided to take a lighter approach to the sensitive part of a couple’s marital troubles by opting to make the transition from discovery to recovery a humorous one. Funny as it may have been, those scenes impacted Pippa’s choices a great deal because she was able to draw from her past and understand that what she had done to her predecessor (Monica Bellucci) came back to haunt her twenty years later by another woman (Winona Ryer).

Without giving away too much more about the story, I want to express that this movie is beautifully told and wonderfully expressed and as a result of it’s perfection it is a must see for everyone and anyone over 30.

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