Sunday, October 05, 2008

Penelope


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Christina Ricci has always been perfect for off-the-beaten-path movies. It suits her weird aura and her quirky acting style. It's as if she instantly puts a dark tone to anything she touches. Anyhow, she'd also been stuck doing charming but undistinguishable films lately. I think this might be one of those yet again.
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This Reese-Witherspoon-produced movie was filmed back in 2006 and had been shelved for 2 years. It was finally released last February 2008 and nobody really knew why. It baffled me for a while because the names in the movie are interesting enough. Aside from Ricci, Witherspoon also stars in a blabbermouth cameo role. Plus James McAvoy of course, and Catherine O'Hara, Peter Dinklage, oh I mean, real stars for cast.
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The story revolves around Penelope Wilhern who was born with a snout of a pig due to a curse cast upon her great, grea, great grandfather. The movie wants her to come across as pig-ugly, but the miscalculation came in when they cast Ricci for the role. Instead of ugly, she actually looks cute. To lift the curse, she needs to find "one of her own who will love her until death do them apart." Yes, the curse did sound THAT stupid when I heard it too. Whoever wrote this can't even write an effectively chilling doom. Anyhow, the WIlherns assumed that these means they need to find one of their own, as in blue-blooded, old money families, so they set Penelope up to meet suitable men. They all end up running and flinging themselves through the window though. Again, this part is an exaggeration because, she isn't that ugly at all.
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Edward Vanderman was one of the men who ran, but instead of keeping mum, he went to the police station to report Penelope. Everyone thought he suffered a mental breakdown which in turn imperiled his position as heir of the family business. To prove to everyone he isn't insane, he teamed up with a reporter, named Lemon who has reasons for wanting the story, to find means to take Penelope's picture. They hired Max (James McAvoy), a down-and-out blueblood to take a picture. But within his brief encounter with Penelope, something sparked and he found himself equally charmed. His hesitation led him to be found out as a "spy" and Penelope's heart breaks. Situations with the Wilhern has become difficult and Penelope made a grand gesture for herself and ran away from home. She sold her picture and "outed" herself to the public.
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The movie had a dark fairytale feel to it, and it had a story although it needs a lot of improvement. The saving grace of the whole thing is the acting. Ricci is a veteran. And of course, I can only wax poetic about McAvoy. He truly can act. He took something shamshockled as his role in the movie and turned it into something credible. That's something, right?
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I have no idea if this will ever be shown here in the Philippines, but if it ever does, it'll be worth the ticket, sure. Just know it's supposed to be light-hearted and don't take it any more than that. :)
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