Penelope (2006)


Critic Consensus: Though Penelope has a charming cast and an appealing message, it ultimately suffers from faulty narrative and sloppy direction.


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Movie Info

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 the family's majestic home, she is subjected to meeting a string of blue-bloods through her parent's futile attempt to marry her off and break the curse. Each suitor is instantly enamored with Penelope (and her sizable dowry)... until the curse is revealed. When a willing mate cannot be found, mischievous tabloid reporter Lemon hires Max to pose as a prospective suitor in hopes of snapping a photo of the mysterious Penelope. Max, who is really a down-on-his-luck gambler, finds himself drawn to Penelope and not wanting to expose or disappoint her, disappears and leaves Lemon in the lurch. Fed up by this latest betrayal and determined to live life on her own terms, Penelope breaks free from her family and goes out into the world in search of adventure--curse be damned.

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Christina Ricci
as Penelope Wilhern
James McAvoy
as Max/Johnny
Richard E. Grant
as Franklin Wilhern
Catherine O'Hara
as Jesssica Wilhern
Simon Woods
as Edward Humphrey Vanderman III
Michael Feast
as Jake/Witch
Paul Herbert
as Leonard Wilhern
Jilian Henry
as Young Penelope
John Voce
as Station Cop
Andrew Bailey
as Floorman in Card Club
Eve Pearce
as Old Lady Card Player
Rob Rouse
as Mr. Mosley
Ross Boatman
as Cheery Dealer
Nigel Havers
as Mr. Vanderman
Tallulah Evans
as Little Girl at Photobooth
Richard Leaf
as Jack the Bartender
Russell Brand
as Sam the Jazz Club Owner
James Howard
as Reporter Outside Hospital 1
Shaun Parkes
as Reporter Outside Hospital 2
Scott Marshall
as Reporter in Mr. Vanderman's Office
Christina Greatrex
as Mrs. Vanderman
Cornelius Booth
as Pub Patron 1
Colin Marsh
as Pub Patron 2
Tom Barker
as Boy Pupil on Hillside
Todd Boyce
as Preacher
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News & Interviews for Penelope

Critic Reviews for Penelope

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (32)

I think it's a sweet film.

Mar 3, 2008

A precocious fairy tale made for and starring people too old for whimsy

Mar 2, 2008 | Rating: C | Full Review…

While uneven, this Ugly Duckling redux is hipper and funnier than a Disney movie, and the positive message to young girls can't be discounted.

Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
USA Today
Top Critic

The semi-satirical treatment of celebrity culture, as Penelope is treated first as a tabloid sensation then a media darling, is lame and dated.

Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Sweet as gingerbread, Penelope deserves to find an audience; those with a taste for happily-ever-afters should look for it, before it too-quickly disappears.

Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 3/4

Director Palansky and screenwriter Leslie Caveny seem to have many of the right ingredients for creating something beguiling, but the film is, finally, surprisingly pedestrian. What a shame, with all these good performers.

Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Penelope

Sweet, fairy tale type movie. Resse Witherspoon is barely in this, which surprised me, but quite honestly Christina Ricci and James McAvoy steal the film anyhow. It has a great message to it and is a film all ages would enjoy. 4/5/15. Wow, sounds like I enjoyed this a lot more on the first viewing. A few years have gone by and I decided to watch it again. It's still an okay movie, but nothing great. Certainly not the 4 stars I originally rated. Reese Witherspoon is actually quite grating here, considering her small role. (Even though the character is nice). The whole thing is far fetched (obviously) and I don't know that I really felt anything for Penelope. This felt to me very much a family movie fairy tale. Like Enchanted. So I guess for a fan of that genre, I would recommend it. Not so much for myself though.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Adorable and 3/4. Funny and effective social satire about beauty, fame, and marriage. Christina Ricci is a lovely-locked if bobbleheaded vision, and James McAvoy is a shaggy-haired dream.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

It seems a bit ridiculous that a pig nose could cause people to cringe in horror and jump out of windows (especially considering the amount of ugly people in this world), but this decent little fable-like comedy has a sweet moral message and makes the best of a simple idea.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Penelope (Christina Ricci) is cursed with a pig nose so her family are in pursuit of a suitor who will break the curse. James McAvoy is great in this movie. A bit of an unusual role for Reese Witherspoon but she's great too. It is certificate U but some scenes might be a bit scarey for young kids.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

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