If your trips to the cinema have been curtailed due to blockbuster intolerance, or if you just fancy a break from big hype and budgets, then this low-key drama could be the film for you.

Pippa Lee (Wright Penn) is the much younger, devoted wife of legendary literary editor Herb (Arkin). He's decided to simplify their life together by standing down as boss, selling his assets and moving from New York to a retirement community - great for him, a deeper abyss of habit for her. And as Herb settles into this new stage of his life, Pippa starts thinking back on the various ones in hers and how she went from a free spirit (Lively) with no concept of tomorrow to a woman with grown-up children who finds that her only goal has become keeping her husband alive for as long as possible.

Once again adapting one of her own books for the screen ('Personal Velocity' being the other), Miller's film is lighter in tone than its source material but still raises all the same important questions about the nature of love and how much one person can truly know another - no matter how much of their life they occupy. The longer you watch the more you start thinking about people you know, your own experiences, the mistakes you've made or the ones to avoid.

Read an interview with Rebecca Miller.

Having spent a great deal of her career being seen by sections of the media as the wife of Sean Penn first and an actress second, Wright Penn gives one of her best performances as the woman who has put everyone else's needs before her own, managing to convey an outward serenity and a heart grinding against itself on the inside. Is Pippa's lot down to self-confidence, a penance for things past or both? That's for you to decide, but whatever your opinion you're willing her on to better days throughout.

Miller has assembled a superb cast and all are perfect as the characters from her (worth reading afterwards) debut novel. Given that she's so good at observing people and their relationships, perhaps her next project should be the bigger canvas of a TV series - everything here says it would be worth missing a trip to the cinema for.

Harry Guerin

'The Private Lives of Pippa Lee' is in cinemas now.

Listen to The Arts Show review of 'The Private Lives of Pippa Lee' here.