One could be forgiven for approaching Penelope with a certain amount of skepticism. It has two points against it - not only is it opening in the middle of one of the bleakest cinematic seasons but it has sat on the shelf for nearly two years since wrapping production in 2006. Normally, that's not a good sign. Fortunately, however, Penelope is not undone (at least not entirely) by either of these factors. While not a cinematic classic, it delivers pretty much what could reasonably be expected from a movie that opens with the caption "Once upon a time…" It's not the best of modern fairy tales but it's sincere and Christina Ricci's earnest and vulnerable performance touches the heart. Penelope is flawed but not irredeemably so.
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