Friday, August 8, 2008

Nothing's wrong with Miss Piggy

I recently caught this 2006 fairytale film Penelope starring Christina Ricci and James McAvoy, and despite the bad reviews I found online, I like it. Sure, it's a mishmash of "picture book" and contemporary London, and the accents are confused, but those things don't matter because this is a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Penelope's impediment doesn't really make her look bad. Perhaps it's her being sheltered too long that causes the shocked reactions. But her mom, played by Catherine O'Hara, makes that difficult for her--possibly out of the shame of bearing a baby with a snout. (Whatever happened to "the face that only a mother will love"?)

Penelope's escape paved a way for her to be seen by the public...and of course they accepted her (but let's not discount the "because she's a freak" reason). The irony in the tale is that what breaks the curse is not marriage to somebody from an equally snobby family, but Penelope's acceptance of herself. It didn't come easy because of the influence of a mother who only cared about the superficial.

This mindset is the problem that the movie makes a caricature of. Because the true funny face of the movie is not Penelope's, but the addiction to looks that overlooks what matters most: the human being.

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