By Brandy Hernandez, 17, Hawthorne Academy
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I wanted to see the movie Penelope because it had Christina Ricci in it and it looked like a fairytale, and I like those kinds of movies.

What made the movie good was the message of self-esteem. It doesn’t feel like they’re trying to lecture you, they’re just telling a really positive story. You learn you should love yourself for who you are, no matter if you have a mole on your face or a pig nose, no matter what.

Ricci’s character Penelope is born cursed with a pig nose. Her mom (Catherine O’Hara) doesn’t want anybody to see her daughter so she hides her in their house.

The movie is so funny. The only way to break the curse is for Penelope to marry someone wealthy. Young men come to meet Penelope, but they can’t see her because her parents have set up a one-way mirror. They talk and when she feels comfortable she comes out and shows them what she looks like. All of them run away by jumping out of the window. It’s funny when they put in bulletproof glass and a guy smashes into the window.

When a guy named Edward comes to meet her things get even funnier. He says she’s hideous and goes to the police station to say there’s a vicious monster on the loose. It’s funny because he’s so dramatic when he’s describing her. There’s nothing wrong with her; she’s pretty but just has a pig nose. But when they asked him what she looked like, he described Medusa-like hair, a really big pig nose and vampire teeth. When they show the picture of her in the newspaper, he made her look so hideous that everyone in the audience started laughing.

A tabloid reporter hires Max (James McAvoy) to pretend to like her and get her out of the house so he can take pictures of her. When Max sees her he gets scared but he doesn’t run out of the room. I thought it was because he got paid to not run away. But I realized later that he does like her when he tells the tabloid reporter, “I can’t do this. I can’t treat her like this.”

She decides she isn’t going to stay in her house forever so she runs away, wearing a scarf to hide her nose. I was happy that she decided to see the world for herself and live a normal life. She meets Annie (Reese Witherspoon) and they become friends. One day her scarf comes off. I thought, “People aren’t going to talk to her,” but that wasn’t the case. Annie accepts her and likes her for who she is.

The movie ends really good. There’s a surprising twist that you never see coming. Ricci is really good. Penelope realizes that she’s happy the way she is and she doesn’t need to change to fit in or depend on other people’s opinions of her to like herself.

I’d recommend this movie to everybody.