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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Palansky
Produced by Reese Witherspoon
Written by Leslie Caveny
Starring Christina Ricci
James McAvoy
Catherine O'Hara
Reese Witherspoon
Peter Dinklage
Richard E. Grant
Music by Joby Talbot
Distributed by Summit Entertainment (U.S.)
The Weinstein Company (Premiered)
Release date(s) Toronto Film Festival
September 8, 2006
United Kingdom
February 1, 2008
United States
February 29, 2008
Running time 91 minutes
101 minutes (Premiered)
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget US$15 million[1]
Gross revenue North America $20,942,056[2]

Penelope is a 2007 romantic comedy film directed by Mark Palansky with a wide release in 2008. It stars Christina Ricci, James McAvoy and Reese Witherspoon.



Penelope Wilhern is a young woman from a well-bred and wealthy family with all the qualities to make an excellent match for any other well-bred man of her status. However, the one thing that sets her apart is her face, which, in fact, resembles that of a pig. This was a curse set on her family generations ago, and the only way to break the curse is for one of her kind to accept her for what she is.

Generations ago, an embittered witch placed a curse on the Wilhern family because their son had impregnated her daughter, one of their servants. The son offered marriage but his family refused and married him off to another. The witch's daughter, overwrought, threw herself off a cliff. The witch cursed the Wilherns in such a way that would result in the next girl born into the clan having the face of a pig. For generations, only sons were born into the family, until five generations later when Penelope (Christina Ricci) was born, stricken with the curse. It is said that the curse can only be lifted if one of her own learns to love her, which is interpreted by her parents to mean a blueblood -- a person from an established noble family.

When a tabloid reporter named Lemon (Peter Dinklage) begins stalking the family to get a photograph of the infant Penelope, her parents, Jessica (Catherine O'Hara) and Franklin (Richard E. Grant) fake their daughter's death and then hide their daughter away in their mansion, where Penelope spends her life immersing herself in intellectual pursuits such as literature, horticulture and music. Now an adult, Penelope's parents attempt to introduce her to possible rich suitors, hoping that one of them will fall in love with her and break the curse. Unfortunately, every man who lays eyes on the girl takes flight at first sight, never to return, including Edward Humphrey Vanderman III (Simon Woods), a spoiled, cruel-hearted snob who finds her repulsive.

Vanderman's panicked flight from the Wilhern house results in a newspaper article dubbing him unstable. To redeem his name, he teams up with Lemon and the team goes out to find someone who can get into the house for a picture. They mistakenly take Johnny Martin (James McAvoy), an unrepentant gambler with a heavy heart, for a distantly blue-blooded Max Campion (Nick Frost), who agrees to help Lemon and Vanderman snatch a photograph of her for money. When "Max" meets Penelope, however, he is unexpectedly caught off guard by her disarming charm, and decides to renege on his agreement with Lemon and Vanderman, realizing that their attempt to exploit Penelope is repugnant.


Background and production

The production of Penelope started in 2006 in London. According to Internet Movie Database, it was filmed in the United Kingdom.[3] It premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.[4] It was also Reese Witherspoon's first film in a producing role along with a small acting role.

The film's screenplay was written by Leslie Caveny. A novelization of the film was written by Marilyn Kaye.[5]

The finished film was caught in limbo for over a year. Originally purchased by The Weinstein Company and IFC Films, it was removed from the release date schedule and eventually dropped by the two studios. Summit Entertainment eventually picked up United States distribution rights.


The film received mixed reviews from critics. As of February 29, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 53% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 108 reviews.[6] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 48 out of 100, based on 29 reviews — indicating mixed or average reviews. [7]


Box office

The film premiered September 8, 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was also shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007. The film opened in Russia and Ukraine in August 2007. Penelope was released in the United Kingdom on February 1, 2008. It opened in wide release in the United States and Canada on February 29, 2008.[8]

The film opened in ninth place and earned $3.8 million USD on its opening weekend in the United States.[9]

By October 5, 2008, the film had grossed $20.8 million worldwide—with $6.5 million in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Malta.[10]

Home media release

Penelope was released on July 15, 2008 in the United States. It included a 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and an English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track. The extras were a behind-the-scene featurette and world-premiere features from the upcoming Summit film Twilight as well as behind-the-scenes features and interviews from the film, released four months later. Also available was a Target exclusive edition which was a two disc deluxe edition set and exclusive tickets to see four Universal Studios films: Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Mamma Mia!, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Death Race.


Joby Talbot composed the music for the film. A soundtrack album was released.

Track listing
  1. "The Story of the Curse, Pt. 1" by Joby Talbot – 3:57
  2. "The Story of the Curse, Pt. 2" by Joby Talbot – 4:58
  3. "Waking Life" by Schuyler Fisk – 4:07
  4. "The Piano Song" by Meiko – 2:46
  5. "Penelope Breaks Free" by Joby Talbot – 1:58
  6. "Fairground" by Joby Talbot – 1:31
  7. "Give In" by The Secret 6 – 4:46
  8. "Queen of Surface Streets" by DeVotchKa – 5:26
  9. "String of Blinking Lights" by Paper Moon – 4:18
  10. "The Wedding" by Joby Talbot – 4:03
  11. "Ageless Beauty" by Stars – 4:05
  12. "The Kiss" by Joby Talbot – 4:22
  13. "Hoppípolla" by Sigur Rós – 4:15
  14. "Your Disguise" by James Greenspun – 3:09


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Penelope is a 2008 comedy-fantasy film from Summit Entertainment and Stone Village Pictures. The film is about a young aristocratic heiress born under a curse that can only be broken when she finds true love with "one who will love her faithfully."

Directed by Mark Palansky. Written by Leslie Caveny.
A fairytale like no other. taglines


Jessica Wilhern

  • What? I'm being her mother! That's what mothers do with daughters; they talk about how to look prettier.


  • Y'know you inspired me, doing what you did, going off on your own like that.


Annie: So what are you hiding from the law or is it just a bad nose job?
Penelope: Mhm, bad nose job.

Max: Good God, he licked me.
Lemo: Edward, don't lick Max.

Edward Vanderman Jr.: Try to remember - I'm your son.
Leonard Wilhern: That's exactly what I'm trying to forget!

Duty Cop: Detailed description?
Jessica Wilhern: Brown hair. Brown eyes.
Jessica Wilhern: A unique... ly pleasant personality.
Franklin Wilhern: Think pig.
Duty Cop: So she's a fat girl?

Penelope: Helaborasoreantalis. They're amazing; they bloom even in the winter.
Annie: That's cool.
Penelope: They just pop up without any help from anyone.
Annie: [laughs] Kind of like my ex-boyfriend, if you know what I mean.

Penelope: [telling her class her story] And we lived happily ever after - well, happily ever after so far at least.
Child #1: I don't get it. What does it mean?
Penelope: Well, you tell me what you think it means.
Child #2: Rich people stink!
Child #3: It's always the mothers fault.
Child #4: It's not the power of the curse - it's the power you give the curse.

Max: All Halloween I've been running into someone I used to know.
Penelope: [wearing a pig mask] This someone - she meant a lot to you?
Max: Yes, yes she did.
Penelope: What happened?
Max: I couldn't give her what she wanted.
Penelope: What did she want?
Max: To be free.

Journalist #1: Do you have any other pig parts?
Penelope: No!
Journalist #2: With such a large nose, do you smell better than the rest of us?
Penelope: [laughs] You tell me.

Wanda: Wait! He's still a blue-blood! He can break the curse.
Penelope: Max, I know this face repulses you... And I wouldn't, I wouldn't dream of asking you to accept it.
Max: No... No... No...
Penelope: But this isn't me, the real me is inside here somewhere just waiting to get out and you can make that happen and once the curse is broken I'll be just like anybody else.
Max: What if the curse doesn't get broken? What if the curse can never be broken?
Penelope: Then I'll kill myself. I promise, I promise I will. Marry me, Max. Marry me.
Max: I can't.
Penelope: Get out.
Max: I'm...
Wanda: Get out. Get out.


  • A fairytale like no other.
  • She's been hiding all her life. Now she'll show the world just who she really is.
  • Sometimes true love is right under your nose.
  • What makes us different makes us beautiful.


External links

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