Penelope

What makes us different makes us beautiful.

Over this lovely Labor Day weekend (in which I have been racked with a fever, a runny nose, and a cough that will be the death of me), I wanted to watch some Netflix movies I’ve never seen before.  And I found this 8-year-old movie.  It looked cute.  I figured it was worth the watch.

Penelope, born into a wealthy blue-blooded family, could have anything she wanted.  But Penelope has been cursed with the nose of a pig because of something an ancestor did. The only way to break the curse is to find true love from “one of her own kind.”  For 25 years, she’s been hidden in her family’s home while her mother tries to play matchmaker.  Each man seems enchanted with Penelope’s personality and sizable dowry…until they see her.  Lemon, a reporter with a grudge, badly wants a picture of Penelope.  He hires Max, a down-on-his-luck blue-blood and gambler, to pose as a suitor and get that photo.  But when Max starts to fall for Penelope for real, things get complicated.  Can Max break the curse for Penelope?  Does Penelope even want Max?

This movie was so freaking adorable, I watched it again last night just to be sure that I loved it.  (I did.)  It’s a modern fairytale, and I’m usually pretty giddy about fairytales.  It had enough of a fantastical feel to feel like a fairytale while still being grounded in our world.  (I find I like this more in movies than in books, for whatever reason.)  I liked that it felt modern and classic at the same time.

I really liked the message of the movie too.  I think that’s really what won me over.  Penelope has been reviled by so many people for her entire life just because of a single flaw that doesn’t have any impact on who she really is as a person.  I mean, can’t we all relate to that in some way?  I thought that made the movie relatable and engaging.

And Penelope is just so relatable.  She’s quiet and smart and interesting, yet no one seems to see it or appreciate her for it.  She knows who she is on the inside and just wishes she knew who she was on the outside too.  That was the constant struggle throughout the movie.

Max.  Can I just sit and count the ways in which he is adorably cute?  He’s a little bit of an odd choice for a love interest, but it all worked together in an adorable way.  Like boiling a frog, you slowly fall for him without even realizing it.  He never does anything that’s overtly cute, but he wins you over.

What I think I really enjoyed about this was that it didn’t feel like it was all about the love story.  Now, I love love stories.  Always have, always will.  But this movie didn’t just focus on the matchmaking and the “relationship” between Penelope and Max.  It was also about Penelope discovering who she is, who she wants to be.

The cast, I thought, was pretty awesome too, and deserves mentioning.  Christina Ricci (The Addams Family) is our Penelope.  Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice, Home Alone) plays her mother and is delightfully annoying.  James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) is our Max.  And we also have appearances by other well-known actors like Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as the vengeful reporter, Lemon, and Reese Witherspoon (Sweet Home Alabama) as Annie, a messenger with a motormouth.

Right.  So I loved this movie.  It was adorable, and unfortunately no longer instantly available on Netflix.  But I encourage you to see this if you love fairytale movies.  I plan on buying this as soon as I get the chance.

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