There is a lot of films that are modern takes on Fairy Tale or more precisely fairy tales with a modern setting. Placing a Fairy Tale type story is tricky, you have create certain atmosphere to make it believe for the setting but you can’t have the movie take itself that seriously, I.E. it has to know its place and not be a brooding Twilight-shit storm of a mess.
One such movie with a Fairy Tale modern setting is 2008’s Penelope. It’s by accounts a nice movie and by that I mean pleasant but not really super memorable either.
Penelope tells the story of super elite Penelope who due to a family curse has pig nose. This causes her mother to keep her apart from the world and even goes as far to fake her daughter’s death. The only was to break the curse is to have one of their own kind accept her.
So her parents, or really just her mother, Jessica had rich other blue blood young men to win her heart but all are scared off by her nose. One man tell the papers about Penelope and he is dubbed crazies. He and a newspaper gut then you a in debt blue blood named Max to get a picture of Penelope to prove both them right.
However Max and Penelope bond and when she reveal herself to Max she miscontrue him not wanting to marry her to break the curse for him finding her ugly instead of him being unable to break it as he not really Max the rich blood blue but just Johnny some guy.
So Penelope leaves home and makes some friends. But the she sells her own picture to the news guy. The city then falls in love with Penelope and the first blue blood then is made to marry Penelope in order for people to like him and to break Penelope’s curse even though he can’s stand her cursed face. Penelope can’t go through with it and decide she likes herself curse and all which breaks the curse.
Penelope then becomes a teacher and a popular halloween costume. She then learns the Max/Johnny couldn’t undo the curse but it’s ok because they are in loves.
Ahh, the beautiful ugly, I know you well. Jolie Laide is a French expression that means the psychical flaws are embraced as a part of the person’s overall beauty. Quasimodo, The Phantom, The man who laughs and the Beast fall into this concept but to a more extreme degree.
However all these are dudes, Penelope is a lady with the ugly trait and she has to embrace it to be herself. It’s a weird moral, when she loves herself it makes her look normal despite the point that she wasn’t really all that ugly in the first place. It’s a weird little moral that is really mixed up in its scope. Love yourself and then you’re normal? I don’t it feel like it was sincere in its sentiment but presented badly. Though I do like that it a female who is the Jolie-Laide even if her deformity is still adorable.
I give this movie credit, it explains the fairy tale elements well while mixing it into the modern world. Like why can’t Penelope get a nose job? Because some weird reason that it lodged into brain and will kill her. Instead of being a Princess locked in a tower, she’s a blue blood socialist from an old family kept away from the world.
There is some stuff I don’t think work out that super well, like Penelope in real world and how well she deal with it and makes friend. But it could have been that part wasn’t as interesting as it should have been.
There nothing wrong with this movie as a whole but nothing about really stands out. It’s cute but there anything really interesting? No. It should have been, the characters are all likable in their ways and it acted well but it just alright.
Perhaps if the technical were more stylish it would have stood out. As they were they were just okay. I remember Penelope’s nose and like two costumes but that is it. I give the movie had like a kid like sense of style like clothing from Anthropologie. It has the calculated DIY feeling but is really commercial and basic but trying to be cutesy. I didn’t hate it, I like stuff from Anthropologie, I can’t afford it but I like it but doesn’t make for a good style in a movie with nothing else really going on save for a pig nose and Peter Dinklage in an eyepatch.
I want to say Penelope is charming but it’s clunky in its storytelling, delivery and style. Really it’s just lukewarm.Follow thehunchblog