Review written on: March 9th, 2008

Penelope Review

Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci) is the “victim”of a long-standing curse of her blue-blood ancestors. After a relative reneged on a promise of marriage to a girl because of her lower social standing, her magical mother fixes it so that the next Wilhern baby is not only born with a pig?s snout, but will need to find true and everlasting love with “one of her own” in order to break it.

After parents Franklin (Richard E. Grant) and Jessica (Catherine O?Hara) lay eyes on their infant daughter and see that she isn’t like the other kids, they know they have to keep an eye on not only her, but everyone else in the world, including an overzealous reporter named Lemon (Peter Dinklage) who tried to make her a hot story in town.

While her parents are truly trying to keep their daughter happy, despite the world?s perception of her, their major concern was breaking that curse, and they go through the ringer to find her a husband, So far in fact, that they have hired a matchmaker, installed surveillance cameras to “watch” her “dates,” installed a two-way mirror to aid in conversation, and implemented a gag order that the boys are required to sign before even meeting the girl. After a few dozen times of young blue-blooded men were seen running screaming from the estate after getting a glimpse at Penelope, that got kind of insulting to everyone.

One of those boys, Edward Vanderman (Simon Woods) is so disgusted by her appearance, and has his reputation to uphold in a separate story, teams up with Lemon to expose Penelope to the world and show how hideous she really is. They recruit Max Campion (James McAvoy) to get into the mansion, get to know Penelope, and then expose her. We see that Max and Penelope are finally getting friendly and really seem to like each other, until the moment of truth.

After all that rejection, Penelope finally breaks down emotionally and flees the house. She wants to experience life on the outside and find out what it’s all about. As she’s out doing everything she has been wanting to do, she makes an immediate friend in Annie (Reese Witherspoon), who makes it her point to take Penelope out and show her a good time. Does she get the guy? Does the curse get broken? All that is answered and more.

Now to the gloomier side: Catherine O’Hara’s overbearing mother routine got really old, really fast. Reese?s very small supporting role did its job: she was the comic relief of the film. While the movie was pretty sweet, it did implement the long standing clich? of the ugly duckling becoming a beautiful swan and all that stuff. With all that unnecessary suffering that poor girl had her entire life, she better get that happy ending!

This is the kind of movie that would be cute to watch on a quiet afternoon. It’s more something that you’ll want to see in your home. Give it a chance, if you want something really light and fluffy.


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