Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Penelope is a magical modern-day fairytale about love and self-acceptance. Penelope Wilhern, born to wealthy socialites, is afflicted by a secret family curse that can only be broken when she is "loved by one of her own kind." Hidden away in her family's estate, the lonely girl is subjected to meeting a string of blue bloods through her parent's futile attempts to break the curse. Each suitor is enamored with Penelope (and her sizable dowry)...until the curse is revealed. Lemon, a mischievous tabloid reporter, wants a photograph of the mysterious Penelope and hires Max to pose as a prospective suitor to get the shot. The handsome down-on-his-luck gambler finds himself falling for Penelope, but not wanting to disappoint her, he disappears. Fed up with this latest betrayal and determined to live life on her own terms, Penelope breaks free from her family, venturing into the world alone. She finds friendship, adventure, and becomes the person she was meant to be out on her own. And, as in all good fairytales, she manages to find her Prince Charming to live happily ever after. (Summit Entertainment) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 29
  2. Negative: 6 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Jamie Tipps
    An extraordinarily charming movie.
  2. There are some flat moments, to be sure, and Palansky's direction can be a bit unsteady and awkward, but he doesn't wallow in the eccentricities or the modestly self-empowering moral. This fairy tale feels pleasantly down-to-earth.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Anyone willing to tolerate the tortured premise of the story will be paid off handsomely by several winning performances and a moral that makes most of the absurdity worthwhile.
  4. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Ricci is appealingly human, and some acknowledgement of the importance of female friendship, in addition to romance, is faintly touching.
  5. There are usually good reasons why a movie gets shelved for more than a year, however well-acted it may be and however well-meaning its message. Many are on view in Penelope.
  6. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    The whimsical ugly-duckling fable becomes more uneven as it proceeds, straining too hard to manufacture its quirky charms.
  7. Is there anything more dull than an ineptly cynical fairy tale?

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. EGoR.
    Mar 1, 2008
    A beautifully enchanting movie with real heart. Christina Ricci has never been more charming.
  2. lizv
    May 4, 2008
    I think this was an amazing movie. I like the way everything was, and how everything turned out. It was a great "fairy tale" movie and I would recommend it to anyone. Expand
  3. Sep 5, 2014
    The film isnt perfect, but it is a sweet little romcom. Both leads are very good with nice chemistry. Certianly deserved a better response from the critics. Expand
  4. AshlyG.
    Mar 2, 2008
    As hokey as it is, Penelope is "cute".
  5. JohnathanF.
    Mar 10, 2008
    I expected this movie to be terrible and it just wasn't.
  6. LuisG.
    Mar 2, 2008
    for once i will disagree and defend a small film like penelope yes it was a little cynical but it was a grown up fairy tale the one u wish you could get away with and ricci and mcavoy shine ... i loved it .. a small simple and sincere picure.. Expand
  7. ChadS.
    Mar 3, 2008
    This is the film your plastic surgeon wants young, impressionable girls to see. Your daughter won't shudder at the sight of Penelope(Christina Ricci), who's one nose job away from being pretty; they will shudder, however, at Penelope's suitors exiting her room like amateur stuntmen. Rhinoplasty is deemed to be a surgical impossibility in "Penelope", but the lifting of the curse functions as rhinoplasty's metaphor. Penelope accepts herself but the film doesn't allow her to savor the moment. The curse is lifted. Talk about mixed-messages. There's a disconnect between the character and the narrative. Penelope likes her snout; she likes who she is, but "Penelope" doesn't. The screenplay turns into a scapel. "Penelope" only pretends to be a film about beauty being skin deep. Max(James McAvoy) fell in love with Babe, not a babe. He was going to marry Penelope in spite of her deformity. The new nose isn't really for Penelope, or Max, or anybody within the diegesis. It's for you. Expand

See all 15 User Reviews