"Playful Fairy Tale for Families"
What You Need To Know:
PENELOPE is playful, funny, droll, and eccentric. The cast does a good job. Rated PG, its positive qualities are marred by some foul language, Romantic elements and some lackluster scenes. Also, the mean old witch in the beginning makes a comical reappearance, where she puts a temporary spell on Penelope’s mother, to stop her from talking for a while, to everyone’s relief. Thus, the movie’s worldview is somewhat mixed.
(Pa, Ro, B, O, C, LL, V, AA, M) Mixed worldview with Romantic and moral elements, and an ambiguous attitude toward a witch character who shows up at the beginning and near the end for a joke with love lifting a curse from the witch, plus a Christian minister leads a wedding ceremony; six obscenities and four light profanities such as “My God”; light somewhat comic violence such as montage of men jumping out of window breaking glass; no sex but brief kissing; no nudity; alcohol use and woman gets drunk for first time; no smoking; and, gambling and deceit, plus a boy says, “It’s not the power of the curse, it’s the power you give the curse.”
PENELOPE tells viewers up front that it’s a fairy tale, with the ubiquitous phrase “Once upon a time.” The story is narrated by the title character, Penelope Wilhern, born to wealthy socialites, who describes how she’s been cursed by a witch with bad looks in the form of a nose that looks like a pig’s. The curse can only be lifted when she finds true love “with one of her own kind.”
For years, her mother keeps her hidden away, even faking Penelope’s own death to keep the press and a curious public away. When Penelope comes of age, her mother secretly tries to find an upper class suitor to break the curse, but all the suitors run away in disgust, especially young Edward Vanderman.
An eager tabloid reporter named Lemon finds out from Edward that Penelope is still alive. Lemon wants a photo of the mysterious Penelope, and Edward wants to prove his claim of what he saw. They hire a young man named Max to pose as a prospective suitor to get the shot. Max finds himself falling for Penelope, even after he sees what her nose looks like. Max can’t bring himself to take the photo, so he runs away, not wanting to hurt Penelope.
Penelope finds out anyway about Max’s betrayal. Hurt and disgusted, she escapes from her domineering but well-intentioned mother and ventures out into the world, but hiding her nose with a thick scarf. Finally out in the world, Penelope finds adventure and her first friend, a tough beautiful blonde named Annie. For the first time, Penelope is able to face her fears and become the person she was meant to be.
PENELOPE is a playful, funny, droll, and eccentric fairy tale. The cast does a good job. Rated PG, its positive qualities are marred by some foul language, Romantic elements and some lackluster scenes and jokes. Also, the mean old witch in the beginning makes a comical reappearance, where she puts a temporary spell on Penelope’s mother, to stop her from talking for a while, to everyone’s relief. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.