The tale of a young woman overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to win her Prince Charming has long been a staple of fairy tales but in PENELOPE, writer Leslie Caveny has given her story a contemporary spin. What if, for instance, the rich and handsome Prince Charming actually turned out to be a total cad, and true love for the heroine rested in the hands of an initially duplicitous card shark? And what if, more importantly, the story was less about a young woman finding true love and more about her learning to love and value herself?
“Penelope” is one of those movies which is not a great film, due mainly to some bad dialog and dragging scenes; but it does have a few good moments. Enough of them to no doubt please most viewers in a typical audience. It is not your average run-of-the-mill Prince Charming film, but Max (James McAvoy) does fit the bill nicely for Penelope, as he sees beyond her non-conformity (pig-like snout) and cares about her for who she is. Christina Ricci does a commendable job as Penelope and is quite likable, in spite of her appearance.
The pig-like nose is a result of a curse placed on the family by a witch. In this film, the witch is treated with disdain for the pain she has caused Penelope, and the film does not have the witch actively casting spells with an exception at the end which leads to a character receiving a certain come-uppance.
There are a couple of double entendres which relate to sex, but only a few scattered throughout the entire film. The film has less language in it than most PG-rated movies. It is a movie that many teenage girls in particular will enjoy. The picture spins a positive theme, as Penelope comes to grip with who she is as she realizes that what lies beneath her exterior is far more important than surface beauty. We award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to “Penelope”. Many of you, after seeing this film about the poor girl with a pig’s snout, will no doubt squeal in delight!