Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. Based on the British romance novel by Ian McEwan.
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" and realize the most important life lesson, "I like myself the way I am." 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, not wanting to disappoint her or to expose his surreptitious ways, he... Written by
It was only very recently I actually found out about Penelope, it was also actually yesterday I did a bit of research and realised how long ago Penelope was made, in fact it was made in 2006! When I discovered this I began to worry a bit about seeing it, despite a reasonably decent trailer the fact it had been delayed so long meant something was probably wrong with it. Well I saw it tonight, and while it isn't perfect the film is still a charming and thoroughly entertaining film. In many ways it reminded me slightly of one of my favourite films of all time, Edward Scissorhands. Unfortunately its nowhere near as good, but it does have its moments. I actually kind of wish that Tim Burton had got his hands on this movie as this really is the type of film he could make perfect. The film is a nice, family friendly flick, that while a bit cutesy at times has a genuine heart and some decent performances. Unfortunately the movie does have its problems, the ending comes on a bit sudden and the movie does start to struggle slightly in the middle section. But the film is guaranteed to give you a big smile and I definitely feel you can do a lot worse than see this film this half term.
Okay lets start with the performances, which in my eyes was one of the best aspects of Penelope. Most prominent is Christina Ricci as Penelope, the girl with the face of a pig. Okay that last statement is very much an over statement, despite her prosthetic pig snout she does not look remotely ugly at all. On the contrary I found her better looking than 80% of the average girls you meet, so you never truly believe people will jump out of windows just to get away from her. However Ricci's performance is truly brilliant, she's so sweet and innocent, and the scenes where she speaks to McAvoy via a mirror is just pitch perfect. It truly displays Ricci's talents and makes you realise how she has come a long way since The Addams Family. James McAvoy pops up at the main man in the movie, also displaying an American accent that actually never really suits him. Nevertheless, despite his ever so slightly distracting accent he delivers a great performance, as he always seems to do. He has great chemistry with Ricci and any scene they share together just sees the screen light up. Catherine O'Hara steals the movie as the over the top mother who I suppose does genuinely mean well. She's funny but also brilliant, and O'Hara seems to be having a blast. Simon Wood is the only weak link in the movie, he plays the villain, the one who finds out about Penelope and tries to get a picture taken of her. Unfortunately he just seems irritating and camp, he's not a funny characters and he at times seems more an annoyance than a plot point. Oh and Reese Witherspoon is wasted, she's in the film I think for a grand total of ten minutes.
Penelope also has problems with the middle section, the opening is absolutely brilliant and the ending works in some odd way, but the middle, and second third, is just bland and feels like it is treading water. The introduction of Witherspoon's character just seems like a novelty more than anything else and the lead up to the final third just feels like a waste of an opportunity. Also just before the final ten minutes the movie seems to speed over an important event in mere seconds! Thankfully these faults with the film never make the film a bad film, the film is always watchable and you do genuinely seem to enjoy the film. Also the film never feels over-long, it feels a perfect length, which is nice as I believe if the film got boring in the end then the film would eventually collapse. While I did enjoy the film its also something I doubt I'll ever watch again as it just doesn't have that re-watchability factor. Nevertheless this is a good film for kids and in a time when kids will watch rubbish like Underdog, it would be a lot better for the kids to be taken to see a well made if slightly underachieving film that has a great moral.
Penelope is hardly the disaster I assumed it would be due to its release being pushed back, but neither it a masterpiece. Its a sweet, entertaining little movie that is worth watching.
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