Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Director: Mark Palansky
Starring: Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Catherine O'Hara, Reese Witherspoon, Richard E. Grant, Peter Dinklage, Ronni Ancona, Richard James, Lenny Henry, Burn Gorman, Tallulah Evans, Simon Woods, Andrew Bailey, John Voce, Andi-Marie Townsend, Simon Chandler, Paul Herbert
This has been a long time coming. I've actually wanted to see Penelope ever since I first saw the trailer for it before its original theatrical run. The tone seemed right up my alley, and I hadn't seen Christina Ricci in a movie since I was in my early teens. I attribute not seeing it to a combination of not paying close enough attention to its release and a lack of critical support. This was a movie that's been sitting in my Netflix disc queue for almost the entire time that I've been a subscriber, so now that I've finally seen it, was I a major dingus for waiting so long?
Unfortunately, the short answer is "no." It's not that Penelope is a bad movie, it's just that it's not nearly as impressive as I had expected. I was already well aware that the story of the girl with face of a pig would have its share of over the top situations, but that's not where my problem with Penelope comes from. I think the movie could have benefited from a longer runtime. I just don't ever feel like I really got to know the characters here, which is quite disastrous when we're expected to root for a couple to get together. I think there should have been more moments between Penelope and James McAvoy's character so I could truly want to see them reach some sort of happy conclusion. Or at least some more moments of them independently that developed their characters a bit more. It all feels just a bit too surface level for me which is very disappointing.
There are some things the movie does get right though. As I already mentioned, the look and tone of the film was what made it stand out in the first place, and I do feel it delivered well enough on that front. I enjoyed some of the smaller performances in the film by Peter Dinklage and Reese Witherspoon (who again played characters I would have liked to have seen developed more).
Overall, I think Penelope could have been a better film, but it suffered from a runtime that was just too short to allow for adequate character growth.
Netflix Rating: Liked it
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