In this modern-day romantic tale, Penelope is about a young girl's inspiring journey, a mysterious family secret, and the power of love. With all odds against her, in order for Penelope to break the family curse, she must find true love with "one of her own kind". Penelope Wilhern, born to wealthy socialites, is afflicted by the Wilhern spell that can only be broken when she finds love. Hidden away in her family's estate, the lonely girl meets a string of suitors in her parents' futile attempt to break the curse. Each eligible bachelor is enamored with Penelope and her sizable dowry; until her curse is revealed. Lemon, a mischievous and eager tabloid reporter, wants a photograph of the mysterious Penelope and hires Max to pose as a prospective suitor to get the shot. The handsome down-on-his luck gambler finds himself falling for Penelope, but cannot bring himself to give her what she wants. Fed up by this latest betrayal and determined to live life on her own terms, Penelope breaks ...Written by
In the 1980s prologue with Jessica and Franklin Wilhern rushing to the hospital over the birth of Penelope, present-day vehicles are visible in one driving shot. The curved tops are a clear indicator. See more »
My parents were born into the good life. Old money, blue blooded, society sweethearts.
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About 20 minutes were cut from the film for its US release, and some other minor edits were made, mostly to eliminate some mild usage of profanity. This was most likely done to secure a PG rating. See more »
What a lovely creature Christina Ricci is. Even with a pig's snout stuck to her face, I found her to be completely entrancing. She was certainly the only reason I decided to give this modern-day fairy tale a go and, on the whole, I'm fairly glad that I did. It has its weaknesses, for sure, the main one being that it can't seem to settle on a tone or to decide whether it takes place in Britain, America or some mythical amalgam of the two. The tone certainly could have been darker, even if the film is (probably) primarily aimed at teens considering its story (basically an update of Beauty and the Beast with gender roles reversed).
Ricci does a good job of holding everything together. She looks too cute to send men flying through windows in terror, and seems too well-adjusted for a 25-year-old who has never stepped outside the confines of her palatial home, but I suppose these are minor quibbles. After all, how could we root for a truly hideous princess with social interaction issues? Catherine O'Hara also scores as Penelope's overbearing mother who can't see that she is the barrier preventing her daughter from lifting the curse that has left her with a pig's snout for a nose. Other familiar names are more of a distraction than anything else: hedge-haired Russell Brand appears for one scene, an increasingly chubby Lenny Henry in another few. Producer Reese Witherspoon even makes an appearance late on.
One character I liked a lot was that of Lemon, played by Peter Dinklage. Not only does Dinklage provide probably the strongest performance in the film, thanks to a well-written role, the script wisely refrains from spelling out the similarities between his character and Penelope that lead to his pulling back from the pursuit of her. Anyone with a little insight can understand the reason for the casting; it doesn't need to be spelled out, but how many other films would keep hammering home the point until even the thickest viewer caught on?
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