Movie Review: Penelope (2006)

James McAvoy has been a gardener, a heart-broken soldier, a doctor, a lawyer, a student and now in his latest movie Penelope, he’s become a gambling, conflicted boyfriend of a pig. Simply put, I know, but being a fan I feel this role of Max has to be one of McAvoy’s most understated and bravest roles in his whole career. He gives yet another emotional performance as he moves away from award winning Atonement, to an original fairytale that is ten times better than Ella Enchanted with double the laughs to boot.

Penelope is a modern romantic fairytale, telling the life and problems of a young girl throughout her life as she struggles to deal being cursed with the face of a pig. She learns that the world is cruel to people who are different and that it is more important for people to love who you are on the inside, rather than on the outside.

Naff storyline aside, the film’s unique charm and incredible cast pull you through the movie and leave you smiling till the credits. Reese Witherspoon’s urge to play a contrasting character to her previous roles as naive Elle Woods (Legally Blonde ) and June Carter (Walk The Line) shows just a what versatile actress she is by playing the rebellious friend of Penelope’s. Not so newcomer Christina Ricci presents the lead role of Penelope much better than many actresses could do, as she shows the character’s lust for life, sheer determination to be free and overall sweetness throughout the movie, giving this basic idea much needed sparkle and life.

Although the movie has an unsteady storyline and may very well fail to win over some (there is some terrible over-acting from several less important characters at the start, when they ridiculously dive out of glass windows), the many romance fans out there will find no fault in this dramatic, yet slightly predictable movie. These folks will surely applaud the end, where there is a most definite “swoon-moment” with McAvoy, right
in the middle of his comfort zone, where he belongs, slotting well into this unusual choice of film for him.

Penelope is a slow burner but a movie not to be dismissed.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm a hopeless romantic and will tend to watch anything in that genre. My favourite shows are Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, The Vicar Of Dibley, Charmed and Jane Austen adaptations. Movies I enjoy are Narnia, Indiana Jones, Walk The Line, musicals like Oklahoma and Sound Of Music. X

'Movie Review: Penelope (2006)' have 5 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 10, 2008 @ 5:05 pm Fletch

    Yeah, I really had NO interest in seeing this, but it won me over. It’s not spectacular, but it’s pretty good, and Dinklage, McAvoy and Witherspoon (somewhat refreshing actually to see a bona fide star taking what amounts to a bit part, really) are all appealing.

    Sure, it cops from the school of Burton, but it has charm and a great Sigur Ros song to close out the film.

    Good point about the overacting. The lead villain kid is either a terrible actor, or was just instructed to be so (as it kinda sorta fits with the mood of the movie). Still, it was off-puttin.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 12, 2008 @ 6:07 am Katrin

    I have seen the movie in cinema. I like the movie. The story is very nice!

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 19, 2008 @ 7:23 am Den

    This film must be interesting. Yes, with such a beautiful girl!

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 14, 2008 @ 8:57 am Paul

    i have seen this movie…it was a great film with a very interesting story ;-)

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 26, 2012 @ 3:52 pm MainDrain

    Even with a piggy nose Christina Ricci is bangin hot!

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