An Unsuitable Job for a Woman film review


On its release in 1982 An Unsuitable Job for a Woman was criticised for being under-powered and perfunctory. But 40 years on, what were seen as weaknesses are now strengths.

Pippa Guard as Cordelia Gray in An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Pippa Guard as Cordelia Gray in An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman is a 1982 British crime film directed by Chris Petit and starring Pippa Guard and Billie Whitelaw. It is based on the 1972 novel of the same name by P. D. James.

On its release this film was criticised for being under-powered and perfunctory. But 40 years on, what were seen as weaknesses are now strengths.

Its art-noir style is entertaining, partly because it’s unusual. The female private eye character is recognisable in 2021, but the analogue world she inhabits has been made strange, and interesting, by the passing of time.

It’s a mystery thriller that benefits from avoiding the better-known movie conventions.

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