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Movie Review

Penelope a.k.a. “Pénélope”

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, some innuendo and language

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Genre:
Fantasy, Comedy, Drama
Length:
1 hr. 23 min.
Year of Release:
2008
USA Release:
February 29, 2008
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Copyright, Summit Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Summit Entertainment

I’m ugly. Why was God so unfair to me this way? Answer

Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
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Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

Witches in the Bible

Witchcraft

Enchantments

Featuring: Christina Ricci—“Sleepy Hollow,” “Monster,” “Black Snake Moan

James McAvoy—“The Last King of Scotland,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe(Mr. Tumnus, the Faun), “Atonement

Catherine O'Hara, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Dinklage, Richard E. Grant, Simon Woods, Ronni Ancona, Jason Thornton
Director: Mark Palansky
Producer: Christian Arnold-Beutel, Chris Curling, Danny Greenspun, Robin Greenspun, Andrew Molasky, Paul Ritchie, Michael Roban, Phil Robertson, Dylan Russell, Dylan Russell, Jennifer Simpson, Scott Steindorff, Reese Witherspoon
Distributor: Summit Entertainment

“What makes us different makes us beautiful. Sometimes true love is right under your nose.”

Most people have often looked in the mirror and wished they had better hair, a smaller nose, or even wish they could lose some weight. Most of the times, these minor flaws never have potential suitors screaming in horror or jumping out of windows. For seven long years, all men have run from Penelope Wilhern. Why? Because Penelope was born with a pig-snout nose.

Because of an adulterous ancestor, a witch laid a curse upon the Wilhern family: the next girl born would resemble a pig. For nearly a hundred years, only males were luckily born to the wealthy family until Penelope. Trying to protect her from the aggressive paparazzi, her parents faked her death and locked her inside their mansion. To break the curse, Penelope has to be loved by one of her own kind. Her parents hire a matchmaker to help find Penelope a man of blue blood (old money) to marry her. Even her enormous dowry is not enough to keep all potential suitors from running. Legally gagging all men who have seen her face, Penelope’s hidden life is threatened when her last potential suitor manages to escape and tells his story. With the help of a jilted reporter, both men decide to work together to expose Penelope. They hire Max (James McAvoy) to act like a potential suitor and to take a picture of Penelope. When Max begins to fall for Penelope, she decides she has had enough and decides to leave her only haven and to explore the world for herself.

While the movie does keep the formula of a romantic comedy, I found it surprisingly refreshing and funny. Having many good morals, the film never becomes too preachy or sappy. Penelope’s character was both loveable and, most importantly, believable. Several characters are well-rounded and superbly cast. Having seen most of Christina Ricci’s movies, I found this movie to be an excellent change for her.

Offensive Content

The offensive content in this film is quite mild. I only counted about 2 misuses of the Lord’s name and about 5 mild profanities. They are spread throughout the film and are not concentrated by only one character use. There is some drinking in the movie. Penelope does appear to become intoxicated after having some beer on tap, but she never acts overly drunk or stupid. She tells Max that if the curse is not broken if they marry, she’ll kill herself.

Since there is the curse, some witchcraft is shown. This film would be a good time for parents to discuss the true evil of witchcraft.

Max is addicted to gambling, but it only shows his addiction in a negative light, and he eventually overcomes his addiction. While Penelope teaches her new friend, Annie, about a particular flower that is able to pop up and grow without any help, her friend mentions her boyfriend was like that. While Penelope looks clueless, Annie never goes on to explain it. I found this one comment to be entirely unnecessary in the film.

The main theme in the film is the true shallowness of outer beauty. While the audience falls in love with Penelope, her pig-snout nose becomes less noticeable. This reminds me of when the prophet Samuel was sent by the Lord to anoint the new king of Israel. Although King David was to be the new king, once Samuel saw David’s good-looking brother, Eliab, Samuel automatically assumed he was to be the new king. However, the Lord quickly corrected Samuel:

“Do not consider his appearance or his height… The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7.

The most powerful scene which I found in the movie was when Max decided to overcome his gambling addiction. When finding out that he had spent ten-plus hours wasting away his money and life, he decided to simply leave. As he was going towards the door, the noises of the poker chips and money got louder and louder, enticing him to stay. Once he left the dark gambling hall, it became bright and quiet. Every single person, whether Christian or not, struggles with some kind of sin. While it may seem hopeless to ever overcome an addiction or temptation, one must read what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13

“…And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

While Satan might try to entice us by making us feel there is no way out, there is often a front door or the ignition of one’s car to escape such temptation.

With the above reservations, I happily recommend this sweet movie for parents of tweens and up. It creates the opportunity to bring about much discussion about the world’s definition of beauty versus the Lord’s and even overcoming addictions and temptations. The film warmly shows how people with less attractive features just want to be loved and not teased. Children should be taught that at these times, they can stand out and show the love of Christ to everyone.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Few movies warm my heart without being overly sad or melancholy, but “Penelope” is a delightfully funny and sweet fairy tale that leaves you with a smile on its face long after the closing credits. It is mindful of its messages but not preachy in delivering them, and there was a twist about twenty minutes from the end that I absolutely loved, as I did not expect it. Ricci has been in so many brooding, dark films that it's delightful to see her as the spirited and sweet Penelope, who is innocent of the world and just wants to be accepted despite her deformities. The rest of the cast is equally delightful, ranging from Richard E. Grant as her frustrated father to Reese Witherspoon as her best friend. It may not appeal to everyone, but to young women looking for inspiration and strength without the unwanted encumbrances of scandal and inappropriate behavior, they will find a true and lasting friend in “Penelope.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Charity Bishop, age 24
Positive—Penelope is an enchanting, thoughtful movie full of interesting characters. The sets and costumes suggest a fairytale and add to the charm of the film. The story has a few unexpected twists and is thought-provoking, exploring the topics of physical beauty, motivation and self-acceptance. Some viewers will find the consumption of alcohol objectionable (to the point of intoxication at least once) and there are a few bad words thrown in, but overall it is a wholesome movie that many will enjoy.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Leah, age 47
Positive—I saw this movie with some friends of mine for my birthday. We all really enjoyed it and the consensus was that it was a very “cute” movie. There was some mild swearing, a few inappropriate comments, and a somewhat scary image that would frighten young children. However, on the whole, it was a sweet movie with a good message about accepting who you are physically. It could also serve as an encouragement to girls who are struggling with not being “accepted” by their peers. I would suggest this movie for ages 16+, because of the inappropriate remarks. My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Stacy, age 18
Positive—I went to see this movie with a friend, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! While the story had potential of being cheesy, it never went too over the top. The acting was great—we especially enjoyed James McAvoy in his role. The story was sweet and well-written and I liked the soundtrack, as well. It was a very clean movie, and while it wasn't super amazing or full of depth, I definitely recommend it, although not for very young children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Brooke, age 23
Positive—This movie was a very sweet film about a young woman who learns to accept herself for who she is. While the whole concept of a “pig face” is rather absurd, the plot line and characters never lack the emotion to get you to empathize. The film does have its flaws though: one main character is addicted to gambling (this is not portrayed as good, and he does confront this and take steps to get over it), there is some drinking in it (one character gets drunk), and a couple very mild profanities.

All in all a good film—well-paced, well-thought out, and well-delivered. The moral themes in this movie are extremely touching if you yourself have been there. I took my sixteen-year-old brother to see it (against his will), and he really liked it! For older children and up, I'd say.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jen, age 20
Positive—I thought this was an excellent movie about seeing beyond someone's outward appearance. It's refreshing to watch a movie in which the main character is not a beauty queen and this is not looked down upon, except by a few characters in the story who are meant to be ridiculous! Penelope's “pig” nose, although a major focus of the film, became less significant for me as the story unfolded and I was able to see who she really was. It faded into the background as I got to see her heart. This is a very important message for all who struggle with their physical appearance, and even those who don't!

There are, however, a few objectionable, and unnecessary, scenes in the movie. Penelope's friend (played by Reese Witherspoon) makes a sexual innuendo which could have been left out of the movie. Also, there is a scene in which Penelope gets drunk, although she's just sitting at a bar and not acting out of control or anything, as one would normally expect in a movie. There are a handful of unnecessary curse words, though mild for today's standards. Also, the premise of Penelope's “pig” nose being due to a curse may be objectionable to some, as a witch is involved in the very beginning and end of the movie.

The final objectionable scene I'd like to point out is when Penelope's love interest, played by James McAvoy, asks her, “What if the curse can never be broken?” (It is believed, throughout the movie, that the curse can be broken if Penelope finds true love with one of her own kind—namely a man of money and stature—which turns out to be false.) And Penelope answers, “Then I'll kill myself.” That statement did not add to the movie in any way! So many people struggle with suicide issues, a high percentage of which are teenage girls who will probably this movie, and this is a very sensitive topic. It definitely should have been deleted from the film. Overall, I really did enjoy the movie and the innocence of the main character was a delight!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Marnie, age 37
Positive—This is a very Tim Burton-esque film, only it's not by Tim Burton. I swear I felt like I was watching Big Fish all over again for the first time. If you haven't seen Fish, you must drive to your local video store and rent it now. Nuff said.

Back to the topic. Penelope is one of those movies Kristen and I would watch a thousand times over and over again as kids. Now, there is some adult content (2 blatant innuendos), but I wager it might go over young people's heads. Considering all the filth that corrodes 90% of films these days, I'll pardon two sexual jokes. And on that note, it's safe to say this is pretty wholesome entertainment for the whole family, ages 2 to 200 as the good pastor would say. It's sort of a chick-flick, but then again it's sort of not. It's more of a humorous fantasy story. It's got the mom from “Home Alone” and “Orange County” reprising her role as, you guessed, the frantic mom—the role she plays to a perfect T. Reese Witherspoon also stars, which was a cool surprise. I honestly walked into the theater only knowing it was a comedy/fantasy film starring what's her name from Sleepy Hollow. To have no expectations is the best approach. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Penelope and highly recommend it to everyone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jacob Keenum, age 21
Positive—I really enjoyed this film! It is a cute “chick flick,” and if I remember correctly, there was nothing bad in the film except for some language and comments made from the main character's mother. There is also one quick scene that made me jump, but nothing to be concerned about. I would recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a good movie about loving yourself the way you were made. To me, that was what the message of the movie was about. If I had teens, I would let them watch this movie, as it is appropriate for teens age 13+ I think Mrs. Witherspoon did a great job on this movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sarah, age 25 (USA)
Positive—I thought this movie was very nicely done. The use of the word s**t in several places was a bit of a turnoff, and a bit of drinking by the main character to cope with her problem was also a bit of a turnoff. I thought the message was good, but not a fan of the use of a witch and curse to make the plot. Reese Witherspoon and Christina Ricci had a nice chemistry on screen together, would like to see them work together again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Scott R, age 44 (Canada)
Neutral
Neutral—I took my 3 little girls to see this movie. The things I DIDN'T like were—the scene where Penelope gets DRUNK! An ugly old witch, and a VERY scary pig face made my kids jump a little. There are a LOT of gambling scenes and there are many people drinking through out the movie. Penelope's mom is a horrible example of what a mother should be, and she is very disrespectful to her husband. There are parts where men go crashing out of windows, but it is implied that they are not hurt. I don't remember much language, so nothing jumped out at me too badly. Penelope lies to her parents, steals their credit card, and runs away. Okay—that's a lot of things I know. I DID like the fact that gambling is shown as a dark and harmful addiction, Penelope learns to love herself the way she is, and a man falls in love with her even though she is not beautiful. I also loved the wardrobes and settings. Beautiful movie making in that sense. I wouldn't take little ones to this movie again. A teen movie at the least—if that. Great for adults!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sarah S, age 28
Neutral—I decided to watch this movie with my Jr. and Sr. High Youth Group for our movie night at my house based on the reviews, but was somewhat sorry I chose it. In the first 5 minutes of the movie before the title was even up we had an ugly witch placing a dark curse, and an actual suicide with a woman jumping off a cliff (not graphic by any means, but clearly understood) and a faked death with a burning coffin. I was surprised by the number of alcohol and gambling scenes. The movie was much darker than I had imagined from the reviews, even the lighting in the film is dark with the majority of the film set in dark rooms where there is gambling, dark bars, dark parties, dark bedrooms and dark apartments. The bright colored box with the flowers seemed very out of context for a movie like this. The style of movie seems to be geared at a pre-teen or teen audience, and would probably not appeal as much to an older audience who the movie would be more appropriate for. I did however like the moral of the story, the belief about inner beauty, the general plot of the movie, the twist, and the romance. I would have enjoyed it more if I was watching it with an adult audience and wasn't worrying about what images I had just subjected my youth group to.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Barb, age 35
Neutral—I almost gave this film a negative review for reasons listed below. It has a terrific story line which is so very unfortunately muddied by interjecting inappropriate and completely unnecessary elements in the story.

I am very surprised that nobody has commented on the offenses right at the beginning of the film. I watched this with my 7-year-old daughter, so the connections were not made; however, first of all, the curse occurred because of fornication five generations past. Couldn't the curse have happened without the fornication, with the witch being upset that the high-society man jilted her servant daughter for another of his own kind (without having gotten her pregnant and showing her pregnant tummy)? Yes, that would have worked just fine. Secondly, within the next couple of minutes, we find out that the curse did not strike the truly firstborn daughter of this couple because the daughter was not conceived by mother's husband but rather another man, whom they spotlighted winking at her as the baby was shown to the media. Oh, so dreadful and completely unnecessary. This was quickly stated, passes, and we never see the firstborn daughter again.

Additionally, I watched the movie twice and caught two separate sexual innuendos also, one said in conversation from the wife to her husband, and another said in conversation from Reese Witherspoon to Penelope. So very unnecessary. Again, this went over my daughter's head, but why, why, why do movie makers find it necessary to throw this stuff into kids/family movies? Additionally, the drinking and gambling was a bit much. I don't think kids need to be told that you're missing out on life if you haven't had a beer on tap. And the gambling? I'm not sure what else they could have used to illustrate the down-and-out nature of the male lead. It was slightly troublesome, but if the were the only flaw, I would have been okay with that.

Anyway, if the issues above were not present, I think this movie would have been extremely pleasant and worthy with a good moral, even one I would consider purchasing. However, given the nature of what I think were big mistakes (sexual innuendos, pregnancy out of wedlock, pregnancy via affair, drinking and drunkenness, gambling), I would never buy the movie and really couldn't recommend it in good conscience to my Christian friends. Too, bad. It could have been a perfectly sweet and innocent movie filled with a good moral. Darn.

One thing of note that I read not too long ago is that G-rated movies are being begged for by moviegoers and they are the biggest moneymakers. Why don't these film makers get it? Pray they will.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Linda Hohns, age 44
Neutral—I saw this movie with my 4 children, ranging in age from 9-17. We all enjoyed it, however, there was also plenty of objectionable content. This movie should definitely have been rated PG-13!

One reviewer mentioned the drinking and gambling shown in a few scenes. As a Christian who rarely drinks myself, I have no moral objection to drinking, provided drinkers are of legal age and do not drink to drunkenness. I was, therefore, not offended by the scenes showing alcohol consumption. Penelope actually does not get drunk; rather, she allows someone to believe she is drunk in order to facilitate the concealment of her face.

As far as the gambling goes, it was definitely shown in a negative light and was eventually overcome. I feel this demonstrates a valuable lesson.

In terms of young children seeing the movie, I'm far more concerned with the first 10 minutes of it, during which time the following events occur or are referenced:

1. Fornication (resulting in pregnancy)
2. A man's abandonment of his inconveniently pregnant girlfriend
3. The suicide of a pregnant woman (referred to as though it was not at all a tragic event)
4. Marital infidelity (resulting in pregnancy and deceiving a husband into believing the child is his)
5. A vengeful witch places a curse on Penelope's family

There is also a bit of witchcraft near the end of the movie, which is again presented as acceptable because the human being at whom it was directed “deserved” it.

All in all—unless you're fairly liberal or are prepared to pause the movie repeatedly in order to do “damage control”—I'd recommend it for ages 12 and over. (And only then if you're certain your children are aware of your values and how they coincide with and/or differ from those depicted in the film.)

My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jahnna, age 40
Neutral—This movie was an enjoyable, fairy-tale-like romance. The objectionable elements have already been discussed in other reviews. I would only add that there is an overwhelming amount of bar scenes, which I didn't appreciate. Otherwise, “Penelope” is a cleaner film than most and is a fun romance. Still, take the reviews into consideration before viewing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Michelle, age 23 (USA)
Negative
Negative—This movie looked really cute, and it was PG, so I thought it would be safe. The overall layout of the movie and the underlying theme and lesson to learn is really good. But, however, there are a few curse words that the rating doesn't allude to and then there is one part where Penelope's new friend says some things that are very inappropriate for children. They were talking about something about getting up for no reason and her friend made a comment like So did my ex-boyfriend. That was totally unnecessary and is unsuitable for children. You can't even watch a PG movie anymore without checking it out first!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Angie, age 20
Comments from young people
Positive—I just saw the movie Penelope last night, and I have to say it's amazing! Being a sappy romantic girl that I am, I fell in love with the storyline. I think most girls want to know a boy loves them for just them, and not for their appearance. This movie really delves into that truth.

There were a couple of curse words (d***, and h***) as well as some of the characters using God’s name wrongly. There were also a couple of immoral innuendos that were uncalled for. They would probably go right over kids heads, though. It also shows Penelope drinking beer in a bar a couple of times, and she is quite drunk in one scene. It also shows Johnny gambling several times, though it clearly makes known that it was wrong.

Overall, I think, for a movie that is not primarily for children, it is a refreshingly clean movie. And for this reason, and the fact it is just such a sweet romantic tale, it is now one of my favorite movies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Michelle, age 18 (USA)
Positive—First of all, I loved “Penelope.” I had been wanting to see this movie ever since I had found the trailer online. And when I watched it, I liked it a lot. I think the story is beautiful how Johnny (James MacAvoy) falls in love with Penelope (Christiana Ricci). He likes her mind… and he is shocked by her appearance when first seeing her. But he still thinks about her later after regretting that she thinks that he believes that she is disgusting… at one point when a young man starts talking about how horrendous and disgusting she is Johnny tells him to stop and physically makes him stop because what he is saying is a lie. And later… he tries to prevent her from being with someone. I thought that was highly reputable. I mean, seriously, how many guys today would do that? Try to stop a girl from being with someone who doesn't love her and could ultimately hurt her feelings? Someone that is looking out for her even if that means he doesn't get to be with her?

However… all the character have flaws… Johnny is a gambler (he gives it up) and her mother unfortunately thinks only of herself. You see man's flaws and sin (because we are all sinners). But I would definitely go see this movie… there are some laughs and it is very cute. There was only one remark that was kind of suggestive but the film did not go into detail about it. On the whole the whole movie was clean. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

I liked this movie, and thought it was cute. As soon as it comes out on video I'm going to have a movie night with some of my friends. I hope everyone enjoys it like I did


My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Nora, age 16
Positive—when I first saw previews for this move I couldn't wait to see it. it looked so good and like a really cute movie that I could watch with my friends and not feel uncomfortable about anything in it. and for the most part I was right. the plot was good, a little underdeveloped though, and the actors were amazing. but, the movie could have been A LOT better if they just took more time making it and developing the characters better. also, things in the movie happened so fast. it felt like they were rushing the entire movie. but overall, it was so cute, and really funny.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Maddy, age 14
Positive—I think this movie was a pretty good family flick, except for a few parts involving the curse stuff. I wouldn't recommend it for younger kids, but anyone 12 and up probably wouldn't be freaked out. I loved how the newspaper guy and Max changed their attitudes about Penelope after getting to know her better, and I liked how her mother and father still really cared about her even though they didn't make the right choices sometimes. Although I would have to warn Christian viewers that there's a part towards the end that I found very disturbing that involves the witch. That part will probably keep me from buying it, but I wouldn't mind renting it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Katie, age 16
Positive—When I first saw the trailer for “Penelope,” I was put off by the, shall we say, quirkiness of the plot. I couldn't imagine that it would be anything but a whimsical, nonsensical movie. I was pleasantly surprised beyond my wildest dreams. Yes, it's quirky, and yes, it's whimsical. But I have never seen a more beautiful, touching movie. As a teen in today's “plastic” culture, I've struggled with low self-esteem that has led to becoming a borderline anorexic. “Penelope” could not have come at a more opportune time. As the movie progressed, I began to see Penelope beyond her nose, beyond the way she looked, and to really look at her heart. I was very nearly in tears as I saw a man fall in love with her. Not her face. Her. I loved that Penelope and Max's courtship took place through a two-way mirror. He fell in love with her because of her conversation, her intelligence, and her personality. By the end of the movie, I was beginning to see myself in a different light. I realized that I can be loved beyond the way I look. I don't have to hide from the world. I can step out boldly, confident in God's love.

Take the time and the money to rent this movie, particularly if you have a teenage daughter. Even if you think she doesn't struggle with the way she looks, there's not a girl alive who doesn't have doubts about her beauty and her worth. “Penelope” is a great start on heading back to self-confidence and to feeling beautiful, despite the world's standards.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kirsty, age 16
Positive—This is one of the best movies I have seen! Everything about it is wonderful! And it is almost perfectly clean! I would recommend it to older families!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Anna Rose, age 17 (USA)
Positive—“Penelope” is a wonderful film, to say the least. I happily purchased it, after being extremely satisfied when seeing in on a TV movie station. Though I was never really offended, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to very young viewers (under 8):

-Light references to Witchcraft (though brought up in a pretty brief, story-telling fashion)—A curse is put on the next born Wilhern daughter by the local witch.

-Suicide is referenced twice; both by a clip of Clara, the servant girl, jumping off a cliff, and a promise made by Penelope that if the curse can't be broken, she would kill herself.

-One reference to sex out of marriage, although it is spoken of very gracefully with no dirty content implied. Just a pregnant belly.

-Light Curses sprinkled gently throughout the entirety of the film, which is to be sadly expected when it goes to all PG movies these days. Still, the makers never seemed to overdo it; using a sh** or two and perhaps a d***it.

-There is also some drinking, when Penelope gets a bit drunk at the Cloverdilly Pub

Now, I feel as though I have made the film sound terrible, when in fact, these are the only flaws I could find in this film. In fact, I was very impressed with it's lack of negative content and overall happy feeling you are left with, no matter where you stop the movie. They never milked the profanities and the acting was above and beyond any of the crud in theaters today. I can never go without applauding Reese Witherspoon, playing Annie in this film. She never fails to impress me with her whimsical, earthy roles (apart from Elle Woods, Legally Blonde, which was still a great performance) and this role was no different, although Christina Ricci did her job in stealing the show! In fact, everyone filled the shoes of this impressive film including Peter Dinklage, James McAvoy and Catherine O'Hara.

Lastly, I need to say that this film was incredibly artistic for a light family movie, which is hard to ignore with its unconventional angles, clever lighting and bright colors. You will feel like you fell into a fairytale when things like the swing in Penelope's room and the winding staircase. Even the wardrobe is spectacular. All in all, this film is great. For me, the pros over shine the cons on this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Devon, age 13 (USA)
Movie Critics
…the film could use some tightening of its sluggish midsection… Ricci's Penelope is not nearly hideous enough to justify their horrified exits (flinging themselves from an upstairs manor window) is the script's first stumbling block. …
—David Rooney, Variety
…a muddled, charm-free fairy tale… Without humor the movie’s messages about self-acceptance, snobbery and a paparazzi-infected media register as annoyingly smug. …
—Stephen Holden, The New York Times
…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.
—Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
…‘Penelope’ isn’t a bad movie. It isn’t a particularly good one, either, but for viewers who are susceptible to modern-day fairy tales that are heavy on whimsy, sweeping soundtracks, and easily digestible life lessons about the importance of inner beauty, I can see how it might be seductive. …
—Josh Rosenblatt, Austin Chronicle