It's often a bad sign when a movie's release date is bumped back. Penelope was bumped not once, but twice, hitting theaters now almost a full year after its original April 2007 release date. And it's not hard to see why it made distributors nervous. It's rare that a film comes along that has the mettle to charm moviegoers 7 years old, 27 years olds, and 47 years old. It's a marketing nightmare.
But the movie itself is a dream. A fairytale if you will, in which a wealthy, blue-blooded family suffers a curse—your next daughter will be born with the nose of a pig and she will stay that way until one of "her own kind" loves her. Several generations pass with only sons, until Penelope emerges, confirming the curse is still in effect.
Played by Christina Ricci, Penelope is cute in a Miss Piggy sort of way, even with the snout. So, as with most fairytales, one must suspend disbelief long enough to fully grasp the conundrum she faces. In horror at her daughter's appearance, Penelope's mother has secreted her away since she was an infant, preparing her always to be the perfect wife—so as to woo a blueblood to marry her, for marriage will surely break the curse.
Catherine O'Hara, a fixture in many a Christopher Guest mockumentary, is splendid as the frequently histrionic mother who is desperate to fix (up) her daughter. O'Hara manages to make the mother endearing in the way that all good mothers are, and this despite the fact that she is not a very good mother. She's self-centered at practically every turn, with disastrous results. But you can never truly write her off and Penelope knows it. You can, however, run away. And Penelope does.
Despite her sequestered life, Penelope is a kind and spirited young woman. She's certainly ...1
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