Today's feature is...
I think Penelope is definitely a movie that is more widely available and more readily seen by people who aren't crazy film fanatics like me, but that does not make it common. In fact, it's entirely the opposite of common, it's exquisite!!
Penelope starts with the backstory of a rich blue-blood family that has been cursed by an old town witch whose daughter was rejected by one of the sons. The curse was that the first girl to be born in the family would have the face of a pig and only if she were accepted by one of her own kind, a blue-blood, would she be able to look normal again. Penelope (Christina Ricci) is that firstborn daughter, born to two of the best comedic actors around.
Catherine O'Hara and Richard E. Grant don't look too happy...
Well, in the film they're more like just rich people who have become hermits to hide their daughter from an uncaring world and the harshness of the media. But in hopes of breaking the curse someday, her mother Jessica begins teaching her daughter how to become a perfect fiance/wife-to-be. As soon as Penelope reaches the age of 18, Jessica and Wanda (an assistant of sorts) begin to scour through all available young blue-blood men to find the perfect one to marry her...that is, if they can look past her face.
Why so glum, chum?
Penelope has reached the age of 25 and, after 7 years behind a one-way mirror chatting up boys, still hasn't found a man who will be a little bit less superficial about things. Yeah, sure, she has a piggy snout, but really, is that such a big problem?
After all, they seem to be getting along quite well. Why don't you show him your face, Penelope?
Aw, that's no way to react, Edward.
"We could move to Paris! I could practice my French."
"You could practice your French!"
Penelope is just about ready to give up, and her father is, too. "Why don't we just buy her a puppy?" he asks his wife. But Jessica refuses to give up the chance of a 'normal life'. Meanwhile the last one to run away from her, Edward has ran to the police to try and report a killer pig. They all laugh him off except for one man...
Peter Dinklage, is it so wrong to love you?
A long time ago, Lemon used to have two eyes. But he tried to follow a story on the pig-faced baby Penelope and was attacked by Jessica, losing his eye in the process. Nobody believed what he saw, and now he is intent on helping Edward prove to the world that they're not crazy. And the only way to do that is to get a down-and-out rich boy to bribe.
And wouldn't you know it, it's James "Strangely Sexy" McAvoy
Max Campion, found gambling away the last of his money, comes to try his hand with Penelope for the price of $5000 from Edward and Lemon. He is marched into the waiting room with the two-way mirror with dozens of other guys. While Max is preoccupied on the floor behind a sofa, trying to work out the spy camera built into his jacket, Penelope shows herself to the room of men and they all run--all except Max, who was coincidentally on the floor, unable to see her. At first he's skeptical of this curious and forthright girl and merely in it just for the cash but at time goes on, even with Penelope hiding behind that two-way mirror in her Anthropologie bedroom, Max is finding himself smitten.
Take care, young lovers. There's glass between you.
Penelope is waiting, there must be something wrong. All the other men ran when they saw her, but not Max. It could be that she just wants to prove to her mother that, in the end, they all run, but it could also be that she is falling for him too.
That's a checkmate there, Glitter Child.
Things are going smoothly, everyone's having a good time, until Penelope reveals herself for what she thinks is the second time. Max, not originally witnessing her face, backs away in shock, but not disgust. Slowly he begins to reach out to touch her face, the one he only imagined from her voice, but just as he reaches high enough, the spy camera in his jacket goes off. Thinking she now knows he was sent as a spy, he recoils. Penelope doesn't understand, merely taking it as a hint that he thinks she's a "monster", and runs away. Max follows and tries to explain, and when she asks him to marry her, he simply says "I can't."
Max goes back to gambling, Jessica goes back to matchmaking, and Penelope...runs away.
What follows is Penelope's tale of self discovery and acceptance within the given parameters of a perfect modern day fairytale.
The wardrobe and set design in this film are delightfully detailed and whimsical, with a beautiful color palate and dresses befitting a beautiful princess.
I'm afraid that's all I have energy for tonight, as I have to wake up very early tomorrow. But I can guarantee that just watching the film is pure inspiration, whether you want to be a colorful princess or a spunky vespa courier, or even a small pirate!
Stay true to yourself,
The Glitter Child