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Lonely heiress who has spent her life trying to break a strange family curse that left her with the nose of a pig. Penelope begins to learn that loving herself is more important than breaking the curse. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (summit) Release Date: 01/06/2009 Starring: Christina Ricci Reese Witherspoon Run time: 89 minutes Rating: Pg
Taking cues from Beauty and the Beast and Cyrano de Bergerac, director Mark Palanksy debuts with a slight, if fanciful confection. Produced by Reese Witherspoon and written by Leslie Caveny, Penelope begins with the phrase, "Once upon a time...," making it clear the proceedings owe more to fantasy than reality. Due to a family curse, Ricci's sweet-natured heiress sports a pig snout instead of a normal nose. Since surgery isn't an option--it would sever her carotid artery--her parents (Christopher Guest favorite Catherine O'Hara and an underused Richard E. Grant) hide her from the world for 25 years. Penelope can only break the spell through "one who will love her faithfully," but none of the local bluebloods will have her. One fateful day, while her face is hidden, she meets musician-turned-gambler Max (Atonement's James McAvoy in a winning performance). Sparks fly, until she finds he's only cozying up to her on orders from tabloid reporter Lemon (The Station Agent's Peter Dinklage), so Penelope runs away from home. The city she enters looks much like modern-day London--Am¨¦lie's Michel Amathieu served as cinematographer--except most everyone speaks with an American accent (then again, the film is a fable). The aspiring horticulturist befriends spunky courier Annie (Witherspoon) and reconnects with Max, who harbors secrets of his own. Once people become accustomed to her unconventional looks, Penelope's future starts to brighten. Like Enchanted, Palanksy's first feature gives the romantic comedy a refreshing--and empowering--fairytale twist. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- A Charming Tale!
Poor Penelope is cursed. Not only was she born with the face of a pig but she also must suffer through a seemingly endless parade of prospective suitors who flee in fear at the very sight of her. Of course, according to the legend, she supposedly needs a "worthy" groom to stick around long enough to break the curse but that is beginning to seem rather hopeless.
What I liked...
-Being that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales the storyline really caught my attention. Penelope is an enjoyable re-telling of a classic story with some cute plot twists.
-The setting is quirky with retro and modern elements. I found the sets and locations to be charming, imaginative, and worth examining.
-The cast was great! Sometimes I regret casting choices but that could hardly be said for this film. Christina Ricci and Reese Witherspoon were fabulous and that is only the half of it!
-Aside from the fact that this is, at face value, a really charming tale there is a moral to the story.
What I didn't like...
Honestly, I could not come up with anything I did not like.
Really, this is a very cute film and I highly recommend it. There are scenes with gambling and alcohol but I think most people would feel comfortable sharing Penelope with their children. The content is very family friendly and it is rated PG.
Overall, I think is a great film for romantics of all ages and I believe you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was!
It was an awesome movie. Humorous, heart-warming and an all-around great story! Wish I had bought the special edition one....more info
- Not quite there
To begin, I am sorry to say that this film was something of a letdown for me. I am proud to admit that I am a pathetic addict of cutesy fairy-tale movies, the more over-the-top and sing-songy, the better. I think that is where "Penelope" failed me. In my eyes, it never quite reached it's disgustingly adorable potential while I sat in the theatre, enjoying the movie, but still waiting for some big grandiose scene that would cause all cynics to roll their eyes. I waited and waited, but nothing ever came beyond pretty decent. And really, this is a story that should have worked. Great idea, great actors. What made it so "just all right"?
Really, if you are going to make a modern fairy tale about a girl with the face of a pig, you might as well go all the way. It seemed as if they were afraid of making it too cheesy, too cute. Well, boys, that is what the intended audience WANTED! The beginning was good and flamboyant, the ending satisfying for all hopeless romantics. It was the middle that was just too ordinary for me. I wanted to feel the passion at new world. I wanted to like the romance! But it never grabbed me the way it should have.
Still, thankfully, the basic formula was good and that was the saving grace here. There have been several fairy tales throughout folklore history involving a girl switching her own head for that of a pig or some other animal, so I was happy with that. True to fairy tale form, she was "locked in a tower"--actually just living comfortably at home while the rest of the world believed she had died as an infant. There is the line of suitors whilst Penelope waits for Prince Charming.
Then, as befits inspiring modern-day girls, Penelope gets sick of waiting around to be rescued from her curse and sets out into the world. I admit, the scene where she pulls open the too-familiar gate of her home to reveal a glittering city scene did bring a tear to my eye.
And, of course, we get the good, inspiring message and I certainly can't complain about that.
The acting was also good. I have a soft spot for Christina Ricci and her naive beauty, which made her perfect for the role as Penelope; she was a perfect modern-day cursed princess. I realize that Catherine O'Hara bothers some people, but frankly her zaniness entertains me. The rest of the crew certainly held their own.
So, yes, I did enjoy this movie and I hope multiple DVD viewings will make it worm its way into my heart. After all, there is plenty to love about "Penelope" and its positive message.
But it never gave the bang I was looking for. ...more info
- Very cute !
This movie was so much fun to watch. If you had a bad day, pop this movie in and enjoy the ride... I promise that you will feel better afterwards.
Reese Witherspoon in an interesting and different role as usually, Christina Ricci as the "adorable" Penelope and James McAvoy as the blue-eyed guy, every "Cinderella" would like to get...
Absolutely delightful and uplifting !...more info
- Good for early teens
Penelope I truly enjoyed the DVD. I purchased it because it had the book included, and thought my granddaughter would enjoy reading the book to her daughter....more info
- Modern fairy tale
Ok, I had been waiting to watch this movie for a long, long time. The release in my country's theaters has been delayed -again-. So, I decided to get the DVD instead...I congratulate myself, lol. This is such a sweet story, the performances are delightful and the entire atmosphere works amazingly. Ricci's Penelope is endearing -if this character had been played by any other actress it could have not worked at all- in her hands, Penelope is absolutely adorable. James Mcavoy delivers gold -again!! he seems to REALLY be able to act all genres masterly- and the rest of the cast surely will draw a smile in your face. If you are in the mood of a well told empowering romantic tale, this is for you!...more info
- Perfect Penelope
Normally, when a movie is touted as being "family-friendly" it's a codeword for "incredibly boring." Penelope, conversely, is both family-friendly and entertaining. It's even extremely charming to boot. Normally, a movie feels strained or too simple when it strives to be viewable by everyone -- trying to please too many people results in pleasing no one -- but this story is complete and perfect....more info
- McAvoy is so charming in this!
A simple tale, I really enjoyed this one- mostly because of James McAvoy. (Damn those blue eyes, I just love him as a romantic lead!)
Penelope's family is living under a curse. One day a long time ago, an ancestor of Penelope's fell in love with a servant. When he told his family he was going to marry her, the rest of the family laughed him out of the house and he knuckled under, breaking it off with her and breaking her heart. Her mother, who just happened to be a witch, cursed the family, saying that the next girl child born to the family would be born with a pig face. The curse would hold until one of her own falls for her and promises to love her faithfully. The family waited with bated breath with every birth, but, fortunately for them, every child born was a male for quite some time. When a girl eventually is born without the curse, they think it's far behind them, but what they don't know is that the girl is not actually a Wilhern- she's the chauffeur's child.
Hence when Penelope (Christina Ricci) is born years later- the curse rests on her.
She grows up protected by well meaning, but not quite getting it, parents, hidden from the world, until she comes of age. Now her mother (Catherine O'Hara) is determined to break the curse by setting her up with one of her own- a blue blooded male who will agree to a marriage to the wealthy family in hopes of breaking the curse. She has plenty of suitors lined up- the dowry keeps them coming. But as soon as they get a look at Penelope's face (which really isn't that ugly, imo), they jump out the windows to get away.
Penelope is quite content with who she is. She has her books and her family, but she goes along with the plan, knowing no man will accept her as she is.
One day a thoroughly stupid suitor gets himself in hot water when he runs screaming from the house before Penelope's family could get him to sign a confidentiality clause, telling the papers that he's seen a monster at the Wilhern estate. Of course nobody believes him and he's made a laughingstock of not only himself, but his well positioned family as well. He's determined to prove his statement so he enlists the help of a little tabloid reporter that lost an eye when he attempted to get a picture of Penelope years ago. When they find out that the Wilhern's are lining up prospective suitors once again, they concoct a plan to get someone in there who will finally, once and for all, get a picture of the elusive Penelope.
They chose a supposed blue blood (James McAvoy), down on his luck from gambling debts who reluctantly agrees to the scheme because he needs the money. When Max goes into the room with all the suitors he trips and falls behind a couch when Penelope reveals herself, so he doesn't see the face that emptied out the room before he could get himself up.
When Penelope sees that one has remained- not knowing why- she's intrigued. No one's ever stayed behind after seeing her, so she talks to him behind a two-sided mirror and discovers a charming man who pricks her heart.
Max is intrigued by the girl behind the mirror as well. He agrees to come back the next day, much to his co-conspirators surprise- and he does eventually get the picture. The only thing is, it was all an accident. Surprised by her appearance he snaps the hidden camera, then feels so bad about it that he runs away. She of course has misinterpreted his response and it becomes the last straw. With a scarf over her face she runs away and experiences the world for the first time. Through a serious of mishaps, the world she's been taught would run in fear from her, accepts her. Max, has been changed by his encounter with her as well, and how they find their way back to each other is heart warming and sweet.
In the end of this fairy tale the moral is obvious- if you didn't catch it, no worries. It's endearingly given away by a little boy from Penelope's class- it's not the power of the curse, it's the power the curse has over you.
Ricci does a fine job playing the quirky cursed girl and her annoying mother is a riot. Reese Whitherspoon, who also produced the movie, makes a memorable appearance as someone who befriends Penelope while she's out in the world.
I also noticed many familiar British actors- feigning an American accent for some reason- and McAvoy is just so charming a romantic lead, that I was grinning though much of their initial time together. I was just as hooked as everyone else secretly watching Penelope and Max's interactions through hidden cameras. He truly made this film....more info
You know, I actually, surprisingly, liked this movie, but not for it's storyline. I liked its imaginative backgrounds and its scenery. The main thing that I liked about it (outside of my lifelong crush on Christina Ricci) is that it ends with a song by Sigur Ros.
The picture is enjoyable, and fun. Its not a classic, or a piece of fine art, but its good for what it is, and its just a gentle fantasy family picture. ...more info
- A Nice Surprise
I had purchased this dvd because it had an exclusive clip from the new movie Twilight which is due out 12-12-08. However, I was pleasantly surpised by the movie itself. Very fun, solid acting - the great cast is a plus. Sweet fairytale love story with a twist....more info
- Impossible to 'uglify' Christina
Penelope definitely seemed like my kind of movie. It has Christina Ricci in it, and it's going along the lines of an ugly-duckling-turning-into-a-swan story, which yes, has been done a million times.
It's probably my latter comment which should have made me stay away from it. (Also the fact it has James McAvoy in it - what is the appeal about him? I don't get it.) There's just something magical missing from Penelope, which should have made it stand out from all the other movies out there. For starters, it's impossible to uglify Christina, just by putting a false nose on her. It just didn't work. She still looked as gorgeous as ever.
The plot was pretty simplistic, so simplistic that even I found nothing I didn't understand about it. There's a lot of familiar British faces in it, so look out for them. Burn Gorman was my main one - for Torchwood fans - but there's a few other familiar faces there.
There's not much else to say about Penelope. It just didn't work for me and was very disappointing....more info
- Think pig. So she's a fat girl?
Poor Penelope(Christina Ricci) has been born with a curse that has given her the nose of a pig. Years and years have passed and after a faked death, eye-loss of an LP newsman paparazzi, and attempt after attempt to find a suitor; Penelope has begun to loose faith.
Of course that is until she meets 'Max Campion'(James Mcavoy) who although has never laid eyes on her seems to see who she really is inside. He gives her the passion to run away from her stifling parents to discover life and who she is behind the pig nose.
"Do you have any other pig parts?"
"With such a large nose, do you smell better than the rest of us?"
"You tell me."
Being the huge Mcavoy fan that I am the long wait for the film to FINALLY come out gave me a scare, but it is truly wonderful.
Visually stunning in every-way, this film is whimsical and wonderful, the set and cinematography are breathtaking and surreal. Also Penelope's wardrobe is offbeat and stylish and the soundtrack was beautifully chosen. Sigur Ros' Hoppipolla gives me goosebumps and it fits the scene perfectly.
All around good performances from the whole cast, not to mention a different role for Reese Witherspoon.
A heart-warming tale for the romantic in all of us! Some fairy-tales do come true! ...more info
- "I'm Still Me" ~ Discovering The Transformative Power Of Love
Ah..., don't you absolutely love stories about ancient family curses that are eventually broken by the affirmation of true love? Of course you do, everybody does. Well the '08 film 'Penelope' is one of those fairy tale like tales that the whole family can enjoy. Christina Ricci stars as Penelope, the pig faced young recluse burdened with the family curse and James McAvoy is perfectly cast in the role of her would-be suitor and potential curse breaker.
While the story line begins to unfold as we've come to expect in most traditional fairy tales you just might be surprised at the clever, completely unexpected twist at the end. Loads of entertainment value here complimented by some unique visual elements sure to catch the attention of the audience. ...more info
I was surprised by this movie in a good way. Having never once heard of it in the theatres I saw a preview for it on a DVD I had purchased and kept my eyes open for it after that. I was not sure what to expect, but the story line was original, funny and well-played by al the actors, especially Catherine O'Hara as Penelope's mother who you wanted to slap more than sympathize with. The tale moved between the fantastical and the ordinary so well that you felt it was possible for this to actually happen and wonder why you'd never heard of it before. Christina Ricci gave Penelope a wide-eyed innocence while never seeming fake and ingenuine, and James McAvoy (a lot scruffier than I feel he needed to be), displayed a range of emotions just in his eyes that made you root for his character despite the obvious flaws. Give this movie a chance to surprise and enchant you; I don't believe you'll be sorry....more info
- One of a Kind
Well as we all know 'Penelope' is a fairy tale... so what usually happens in fairy tales?
prince's save the day, and they live happily ever after! right?
well this movie has a whole new twist on the concept of fairy tales... Of course their IS a prince, but does he really need to save poor penelope, who was cursed at birth to look more or less like a pig? well... maybe. or maybe all their is to it is loving yourself the way you are...
this movie shows that it dosent matter what u look like on the outside, but whats on the inside... penelope's parents have kept her secluded in their home for about 20 years... hiding her for her own protection.. but maybe all she needs is to get out of the house and meet new friends and people who see her the way she really is...
i loved this movie and i liked how it wasnt like snow white or cinderella. it was completely new! i reccomend this to anyone. Not to mention james mcavoy is sooo cute!...more info
- you'll nose it's true when it happens to you!!!
Just Recently Purchased this DVD. I barely had time to wash the mud off myself before it arrived. Being a fan of the underdog all my life these types of films appeal to me. The plot was well written and executed.
Can't really think of anything I would change about the film. Not a whole lot of extra features included, but I usually find most of that a distraction. Other reviewers have mentioned other edits of the film, but I live in a more rural setting and take whatever I can get movie-wise.
This would qualify in my mind as a good film for families in the sense that young persons often are teased, or feel they are outcasts in society. The important theme being that it does matter who you are on the inside even if having character doesn't mean instant popularity.
As a long time fan of Christina Ricci I personally enjoy her more independent and self produced or low-budget films. Speedracer and Monster come to mind as rehash and horror glitz that appeal to yippies and death freaks.
Heaven knows these groups need fodder to keep their fantasy of 1974 and Ted Bundy had a bad childhood rolling along, but I like variety in life.
With that said, the film might have been better to have been presented as a fairy tale with elements of ELF and "The Chronicles of Narnia" although Ricci herself does some self narration to that effect.
Too bad she isn't in the Narnia films, being a big fan and all.
If you like this, you might like "Pumpkin" and "Anything Else"
two more of her recent films I enjoyed.
- Sweet and Magical
This was a beautiful modern day fairy tale, and I absolutely loved it! There's a curse in Penelope's family that was cast many many years ago, and her mother has been finding a way to break it. Men have run away from her time and again, until one. Of course, he turns out to not be the one they think he is, and Penelope decides to venture out in the world against her mother's better wishes. It's sweet, funny, romantic, and very uplifting. ...more info
- What a fun movie
I enjoyed this movie very much. It was not a deep movie, but very fun and James McAvoy's eyes weren't bad to look at either!!!...more info
Penelope is simply a great movie. Being a Christina Ricci fan, I wasn't sure what to expect from this particular movie but I loved it enough to purchase it and make it a permanent part of my ever-growing moving collection. A must see. jimmy...more info
I watched this with my nieces and their aunts and my mother....every age group loved it and it was bittersweet--i think we all feel like penelope at some point in our life...more info
- Great movie, but disappointing DVD
I give 5 stars for the movie and 2 for the DVD. The movie is a fun fantasy type with awesome visuals and great acting. But, I was very disappointed in this DVD version. I had seen a foreign copy of the movie and was looking forward to having my own clear copy. But they cut out some really great scenes (one that my husband and I were especially looking forward to) and then they don't even have a deleted scenes section! If we hadn't known what we were missing, I suppose we wouldn't have been so disappointed. The scene with the reporter and the real Max in jail is shorted (missing a hilarious interaction). A really neat story point at the end where Penelope reconciles with Edward is completely cut. The birds flying out of the house when Penelope's mom calls after her are cut out (except in the security cameras) - a neat visual. And the scene with the kids at the end is shortened. Those were the scenes that we particularly remember missing, but I think there must have been some other shortened scenes. What a waste of money, the DVD will be just sitting on the shelf while we watch our low res foreign copy....more info
- This movie will become a classic somehow...by word of mouth?
This movie is amazing!!! I think it should be a classic...like The Wizard Of Oz. I love it!!!! The story is warm, funny, romantic, heartbreaking, and it has such a delightful ending. The acting is perfecto, the director is a cinematic genuis, and the production is high budget..(or at least it looks that way). Great movie...one of the best movies ever made. Seriously. ...more info