Miss A Columnist

Karen Hopper grew up in the Nation's Heartland — Michigan, and graduated from Mt. Holyoke where she double-majored in Politics and Religion, and hosted a radio show.
Karen is an avid reader and enjoys a variety of music genres. As a movie buff she prefers to watch movies alone. Karen's cerebral and sarcastic nature make her the perfect critic!

Great Movies on a Budget: Penelope



The economy stinks, and conspicuous consumption is out. While the stock market has done very little to affect me personally, a girl has to make cuts where she can, and I have reduced my cinema attendance drastically. Thank god for Netflix. $10 a month gets me one DVD at a time, and unlimited access to Netflix’s streaming feature. I’ve watched quite a few gems online at netflix.com, and I’d like to showcase some of them.

First, Penelope. It was released in the United States on July 15, 2008. It featured Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Dingell, and Catherine O’Hara. It was also produced by Reese Witherspoon. I remembered seeing trailers for it, but then I never heard about it coming out, so when I saw that it was available on Netflix, I was really excited.

Due to the bad manners and snobbery of her ancestors, Penelope is cursed with a pig’s snout for a nose, until someone of “her own kind” can accept her. What would a modern fairy tale be without tabloids and papparazzi? Penelope is locked away, and when she becomes an adult, her parents seek out a suitable match so that the curse might be broken. Money-grubbing, cases of mistaken identity, and self-actualization follow in due course.

Penelope uses plenty of the tropes of the fairy tale genre, but it is fresh and modern. It’s a trip to see Reese Witherspoon as a biker chick, and James McAvoy is endearing as the scruffy and tortured hero. He is the perfect gentleman despite appearances. The story is fun and sweet, if sentimental, but moreover, it is a pleasure to watch. It’s a very pretty film; whimsical, with beautiful sets, rich colors everywhere, and great clothes. I covet Penelope’s coat.

Penelope on Netflix

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