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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Men -- and most of society, for that matter -- shun a woman for looking different. A man lies to get the chance to make money to pay gambling debts. A reporter devotes himself to digging up dirt that destroys a family. A main character runs away, hurting those left behind. A mother fixates on her daughter's looks. All of that said, though, the film has lots of heart.
Violence & Scariness
Men are cruel to Penelope when they see her face to face, and a guard has to tackle some of the suitors who run away. Max has a screaming fight with Lemon, who, in an earlier scene, gets injured for being too zealous at his scandal-seeking job.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of romance, but no sex (at least none shown). Some innuendo and kissing.
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Rare use of words like "damn" and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some beer drinking in a bar (Penelope has her first taste and enjoys it) and elsewhere. Incidental smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fairy-tale-like film has a lot of heart. There's not much iffy content (a bit of drinking and innuendo is the bulk of it), and the main character is devoted to discovering her own identity and making peace with her circumstances, though it's sometimes hard for her to overcome her shame. Her parents -- especially her mother -- can't seem to accept her as she is, which could be upsetting for some younger viewers. But in the end (naturally), everything wraps up nicely. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Brimming with style and whimsy, PENELOPE is a traditional fable set in a too-exquisite, retro metropolis. It's genuinely lovely to look at -- even that nose, which doesn't actually seem so bad. But although it's amiable -- aided in part by an appealingly rakish McAvoy and a game, though disconcertingly tame, Ricci -- it's a half-baked soufflé that collapses midway. Despite all of its fairy-tale trappings, it's not really any less predictable than any other mainstream romantic comedy.
The supporting cast is generally strong -- O'Hara is delightfully caustic -- though Reese Witherspoon's cameo turn as an "edgy" messenger Penelope befriends doesn't work because, well, she doesn't believably have an edge. As for the film's central question -- can a sweet girl with a pig's snout find true love with one of "her own"? -- the answer is this: What exactly does "one of her own" really mean?
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate