The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (Blu-ray Review)

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (Blu-ray Review)The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is one of those projects that some bill as ‘an artistic film.’  I have never really been certain of what that phrase means.  My take on it is a movie that is low budget, has some bigger names, and flies under everyone’s radar.  It can be argued that every film is artistic, but we are a society that does have to have a label for everything so for Pippa, ‘artistic’ it is.  This film only saw a limited release in U.S. theaters grossing slightly over $337,000 (the-numbers.com) and recently made its debut on wonderful Blu-ray.  Missed it at the cinema?  Here is your chance to investigate The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.


The movie stars Robin Wright as the middle-aged Pippa who is married to the wealthy Herb Lee, played by Alan Arkin.  The story fluctuates back and forth between Pippa’s youth (with the older Pippa narrating at times) to the modern day.  We soon find that she grew up in a bit of an odd situation.  Her dad was a minister while her stay-at-home mother was addicted to speed.  Mom would dress her up in adult-like costumes to create drawings of the doll-faced lass.  Disturbing?  Yes. 

After running away and falling in love with a man much older than she, Pippa soon looks forward to her frequent meetings with the deep-voiced Lee (Arkin) of whom she is smitten.  Fast forward to the present and we find Pippa and Herb living in a retirement community frequented by visits from their two children, where the adjustment of their new lives is taking some time to grow accustomed to.  Combine the new living quarters with a really unmemorable case of sleepwalking, then throw in intriguing/oddball neighbor Keanu Reeves and you’ve got yourself some entertainment.  Life gets in the way, things change, and a series of events carry the story in an unexpected direction.  Karma is a funny thing!

The movie also features appearances by Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore, and Winona Ryder, who are cleverly inserted throughout the film’s 1-hour, 37-minute runtime that does go by rather quickly despite the casual stroll of the story.  Be forewarned; you will wonder where in the world this film is going early on.  It’s almost as if the first 15 or 20 minutes can be thrown away and were only constructed as filler or some kind of feeble launch pad for the story.  Hang in there and you will find a somewhat decent movie that is tedious in its beginnings, though cautiously fluid in the latter half.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee


Technical notes of the Pippa’s video presentation include a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, an AVC encode, and last but certainly not least, the magnificence of 1080p resolution.  There is some fine grain that is present throughout the film, but by no means does this serve as a distraction.  Minute details are recognizable courtesy of the high resolution, though the bit of that aforementioned minor ‘haze’ inhibits a higher score.  The variety of colors are pleasantly displayed on this Blu-ray disc that overall, looks pretty impressive for a film that didn’t cost a lot to produce. 

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee


Don’t expect Pippa to rock it out on your surround sound system.  It’s just not that kind of movie.  However, there was some surprise as this is the first film I’ve come across in recent memory to have dialogue provided through the rear channels.  Granted, it’s not that way for all characters throughout the film.  Rather, this is the case when the older Pippa narrates her past as the speakers behind you come to life.  Other than that, you will find clear dialogue in the front speakers as well as some ambient noises while the subwoofer is pretty much asleep the whole time.  In the end, I was left wanting a little more here.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Special Features 

This bag’s almost empty.  There isn’t much to work with here as you’ve got two selections consisting of the commentary and interviews.  Sadly, the interviews are in standard definition and look rugged at best.

  • Commentary with Robin Wright and Writer/Director Rebecca Miller
  • Interviews with Robin Wright, Alan Arkin, and Blake Lively – Three separate, short interviews with some of the cast (5:36).

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Final Thoughts 

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is a low-budget film that tries to make the most of its financial backing.  It is a better than average piece that requires some patience at first and maybe even a second viewing to fill any gaps after your initial introduction.  I’d recommend a rental, but not one to put high on the must-see list.  


Bring home The Private Lives of Pippa Lee on Blu-ray today!



The Private Lives of Pippa Lee Blu-ray Cover Art




3 Responses to “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    So how was my gril Monica Bellucci in this?

  2. Gregg

    Her time on screen was very brief (unfortunately), but she is a key figure along the way.

  3. Brian White

    OK…well the million dollar question then…How did she look?