English / Film / Thoughts / Women

Pippa Lee the Enigma

I had the chance to see the movie The Private Lives of Pippa Lee two weeks ago. Officially this movie will hit the theaters by the end of this month. So I decided to review this movie for those who are interested in watching it.


The Story
Pippa (a nick name for Philippa?) Lee is unknowable: beautiful, charming, a perfect hostess and faintly bland. Yet inside she’s unravelling: tired of being an enigma, she wants to break free of her constraints. She makes a picture perfect with her ability entertaining friends who come for dinners, helping neighbours when needed en taking good care of her old husband.

During her soul-searching, marked by her binge eating disorder in her sleep (!), Pippa meets Chris, her neighbour’s son. Emotionally damaged after her wife cheated on him with his best friend, Chris moves into his mother’s, Pippa’s neighbour. There is a physical attraction between them. Being his 15 years senior, Pippa tries hard to deny this. Untill she finds out that her own husband, Herb, is cheating on her with her best friend. She lets the attraction on Chris overwhelm her. Ok, so far, this story has been complicated already, hasn’t it?

To cut the long story short, in this movie, you see the recent Pippa as an adult and Pippa in her younger years. Young Pippa has to flee her parental home to cut the band from her neurotic mother. Then she landed in a soft SM-scene introduced by her aunt’s lesbian lover.

This woman is still busy finding out who she really is as she is used to please people during her life. I love the scene when Pippa’s son asks her to arrange her husband’s funeral. Pippa says calmly: ‘I’d been looking after him till he died. Even I’d cooked dinner for a woman whom he began an affair with (Winona Ryder’s character) twice a week. After I’d found out he cheated on me, I still looked after him. And now I decided that you arrange his funeral, not me. I’ve done enough’

The cast
One word, amazing! I love it when Robin Wright produces her well controled smile as Pippa the enigma. Maria Bello performs perfectly as Pippa’s pill popping mother in the fifties. Winona Ryder who at last comes strong as an adult woman on-screen but at the end she turns to be a wrecked one, remorseful because her character began a relationship with Pippa’s husband. A cameo by Monica Belluci as Herb’s (Pippa’s old husband) previous wife. Unrecognizable Julianne Moore as Pippa’s aunt cool lesbian lover. The Gossip Girl Blake Lively who acts surprisingly promising as young Pippa. I believe her playing young troubled Pippa even though I’ve never watched Gossip Girl. And last but not least, Keanu Reeves as half baked neighbour’s son whom Pippa falls in love with.

My short review
Mmmm, this story has so many layers. I don’t really know in which category I can put this movie. It is a dark comedy, satire and a drama in one package. From Pippa’s struggle to get rid off her dominant mom, I recognize the difficult mother daughter relationship. In her turn, Pippa’s daughter kind of pushes her away (which is not clear to me till the movie ends, why?). Pippa’s urge to take good care of everyone in her life isn’t unfamiliar for most women, yessss, most women are people’s pleaser. When Pippa finally chooses her own path relieves me a lot. Cause, how much can a woman bear in her life when she only gives and gives but never takes?

I recommend this film to all women, especially those who’d rather think deeply about their life or just in for a drama. And of course, for Keanu Reeves fans (moi incluis :-D).


6 thoughts on “Pippa Lee the Enigma

  1. Though I can not pass for a lady, maybe the dark comedy part of it is appealing to men as well.

    Though, on second thought: the men are not doing very well in this movie, do they?

  2. I had the DVD somewhere, but I managed to watch this during Dubai-Perth flight. I thought it would be a boring drama, tear-jerker story. It was my last choice since I’ve watched most of the new movies.

    I was actually surprised! Robin Wright is brilliant, not many face expression, but there’s a deep sadness in her eyes which audience can capture. Can’t say much about Keanu Reeves though 🙂

  3. I couldn’t get into the book but it looks as though the movie might be quite good. The scenes with the aunt were too much for me in the book – it was too complicated a story.

    • Lisa, the scene with the aunt is short in the movie. I’m impressed by Julianne Moore who plays the auntie’s lesbian lover. It’s a must see.

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