. Today will explain to you a fantasy, romance film from 2006, titled Penelope.Spoilers ahead! This article contains spoilers, Take Care!
When Jessica and Franklin Wilhern have their first baby, they couldn’t expect to learn that the Wilhern Family curse is real. Many years ago, one of the Wilherns impregnated a servant girl but didn’t marry her because the family would shame him. Depressed, the servant girl fell off a cliff, causing the fury of her mother, the town witch. She cursed the family so that the next Wilhern daughter would be born with the face of a pig, and only when one of her own kind claims this daughter as her own would the curse be broken.
For years, all the Wilhern wives had sons. It wasn’t until a century later that a daughter finally was born, but she wasn’t a real Wilhern: her mother had cheated. And now, the curse finally shows itself when Jessica and Franklin’s daughter Penelope is born with a pig face. As a teen, Penelope spends her time locked in the house.
Half of her day is spent behind a two-way glass listening to rich boys sent by Wanda’s matchmaker agency declare their love for her while her family watches from a hidden camera. Today’s candidate is Edward, who gets Penelope’s attention when he says he knows what it’s like to feel trapped. Penelope decides to give him a chance so she reveals herself, but her face scares off Edward, who runs away. As the butler Jake chases Edward, a crying Jessica scolds Penelope for having revealed herself so soon.
Jessica has always felt as much of a victim of the curse as her daughter. Rumors about Penelope appeared in the newspapers, and Jessica did her best to keep her face hidden. She also went to a doctor to see if surgery was a possibility, but because of Penelope’s artery locations, removing her pig nose would kill her. One day, Jessica found a reporter, Lemon, hidden in the cupboard and trying to get a picture of Penelope.
Jessica hit him to get him out, hurting his eye in the process, and then decided to take a very drastic decision: she faked Penelope’s death.
Afterward, Penelope wasn’t allowed to leave the house anymore, although she did try to escape a few times. Pork wasn’t allowed to be eaten in the house anymore, and neither were any mentions of pigs. Penelope grew up playing alone in her room and being homeschooled by her mother, who was preparing her to be a suitable bride for the man that one day would break the curse. As soon as Penelope turned eighteen, Jessica hired Wanda, whose agency brought over the most eligible blue bloods.
Sadly, every single one of them would jump through the window as soon as they saw her, so Jake had to run after them and bring them back into the house to legally gag them into secrecy. Today however, Jake doesn’t catch Edward in time and he gets to escape with the secret. Edward goes to the police station to report a pig monster, but obviously the cops don’t believe him Since Edward won’t leave, he ends up spending the night in jail, and this is seen by Larry, the editor of an important newspaper. In the car, Jessica, Wanda, and Jake spend the night outside Edward’s house, waiting for him to return.
When he does though, it’s too late: the newspaper has published an article about Edward being crazy and claiming he had seen a pig girl. Jessica rushes back to her family and tells them they’re moving before reporters begin appearing around the house again, but she changes her mind when she imagines Penelope walking around in other cities. Instead, she immediately jumps back into finding the right bachelor for her daughter. Meanwhile, Edward goes to see Larry to ask him to print a retraction, because this article is costing him his reputation.
Larry doesn’t care and calls security, but as Edward’s being dragged out, Lemon hears him ramble about Penelope and decides to give him a chance. He does believe Edward’s story, but his word isn’t enough: they need proof. But since Edward doesn’t dare go back into the house, they agree to find someone that will and hook him up with the agency. It’s hard to think of a blue blood that could need the money, but Lemon does some research and comes up with a solution: Max Campion, a young man that has gambled away his family’s fortune.
Lemon finds him at a gambling parlor, and while at first Max has no interest in hearing him out, he changes his mind when Lemon promises him to pay him well. The next day, all the new bachelors are made to sign up the legal gag before meeting Penelope. Max arrives late after spending all night gambling and Lemon gives him a nice jacket with a hidden camera inside that he can activate by raising his arm. He enters the house with no issues since Lemon has already sent his name to the agency, and now Max can wait in the room with all the other bachelors.
However, the camera starts falling, so Max hides behind the couch to fix it. Not wanting to waste any more time, Penelope reveals her face to all the boys at the same time before even talking to them, and of course, they all run away, confirming that chatting would’ve been pointless. Devastated, Penelope leaves the room and tries to convince Jessica to quit, but then they notice something on the cameras: Max is still there, because he didn’t get to see Penelope while hiding. The women obviously don’t know this and take it as a good sign, so Penelope goes to talk to him through the glass.
She finds Max trying to steal a first edition book from the family’s collection, which isn’t the most valuable in the room, but Max impresses her by pointing out it’s her favorite. Penelope pretends to leave by closing the door of her room and watches him a little longer, seeing him run out of the room and return a second after, thinking he could catch her. Finding this amusing, Penelope invites him to return the next day. Once again, Max spends the whole night gambling, and after picking up the jacket with the camera from Lemon, he shows up at the house looking very sleepy.
Penelope watches him for a while and when she notices him pick up a frog flute, they begin discussing music. Max won’t reveal what instrument he plays and dares her to guess, so Penelope orders a whole band to come over and gets him to try every instrument available. Max is bad at all of them, but he makes a whole goofy show out of it, and Penelope has a delightful time watching him. After the band is gone, they play chess while chatting, although Penelope still stays behind the glass and tells Max which piece of hers to move.
Max is shocked to hear that she never leaves the house and hasn’t tried something so basic like tap beer, so he tells her about the outside world and asks her to sneak out with him, but she turns him down. At least their talk goes well, and the two of them start to bond. After another night spent gambling, Max shows up to take the camera from Lemon and Edward, who is starting to wonder if Max isn’t actually going for marriage. Edward finds it suspicious that Max hasn’t seen her yet and begins describing how grotesque she is, and Max gets angry because he’s become protective of Penelope, and decides he wants out.
Unfortunately, he’s already spent the money Lemon gave him, so he’s gotta stick to the plan. Max goes to see Penelope, who guesses the instrument he plays is the piano. He uses the one in the room to show her he isn’t a good player, so Penelope shows up behind him to guide his hands on the keys. When he turns around, he quickly pulls back because her face comes as quite a shock, but he doesn’t run away – in fact, he comes closer, intending to touch her nose.
But this triggers the camera, and Max curses his luck. Penelope misunderstands his reaction and runs away crying, thinking he doesn’t like her. While she argues with her mom for not giving him a chance, Max goes to see Lemon and throws the camera on the ground to destroy it, explaining Penelope is nothing like what Edward thinks and asking them to leave her alone. Suddenly, Jessica and Wanda come out as well and see Max talking to Lemon, assuming the worst.
Max panics and follows them inside, desperate to explain he doesn’t mean any harm. Penelope finds them and, ignoring Jessica’s spy accusations, she asks Max to marry her so he can break the curse. Sadly, Max says he can’t, so the women kick him out. He returns to his apartment and distracts himself by playing the piano, revealing he’s actually an excellent player.
Then Max takes all the money he has left and uses it to gamble. Meanwhile, a heartbroken Penelope hears her mother say she’ll never give up, and realizes this will never be over. So she finally does something with her life: she runs away for good this time, covering her face with a scarf. Unaware that Lemon and Edward have noticed she’s gone, Penelope explores the city, amazed by all the things she gets to see for the first time, like a dog and a fountain.
After calling her mother to tell her she loves her and goodbye, Penelope checks into a hotel, using Jessica’s credit card to pay. Lemon is also busy: he’s making Edward describe Penelope to an artist, and a rather disgusting portrait of her appears in the newspaper the next morning, promising five thousand dollars to anyone that can get them an actual picture. Max is still gambling when the sun comes out, and when he sees that his table dealer’s idea of going home was to go home to sleep and say hello to the kids before coming back, he realizes he doesn’t want to reach that level of a pathetic life and quits the table while he still has some chips left, something he never did before. Back to Jessica, at first she doesn’t want to call the cops because she doesn’t want them to see her daughter, but after finding the newspaper portrait, she gives in.
Officer Krull comes over to ask for a description and Jessica is very evasive, so Franklin finally gets sick of it and tells the cops about his daughter’s pig face so they can bring her back. Penelope has seen the newspaper too but she still is going out and enjoying the city. When she comes back to the hotel, she finds her parents and Krull there, because they’ve discovered she stole the credit card and tracked her purchases. Penelope manages to escape through the window before they find her, but now that she can’t use the card anymore, she has only one choice to get money: to sell her own picture.
After calling Lemon and agreeing on a meeting place, Penelope goes to a photo booth and gets her picture taken. Then, she puts them in an envelope and ties it to some string so she can hand them to Lemon from above a bridge without coming close. Lemon gives her the money in return but when he sees the pictures, he begins to have second thoughts and tries to talk to her, but Penelope is already gone. He returns to the office to scold Edward for his false story, but Edward doesn’t care that Lemon doesn’t want to publish the story anymore: he only wants to clean his reputation.
So he takes the pictures and asks another reporter to put them up. The picture appears on the news and a very angry Max shows up at Lemon’s office to pay him back, so Lemon has to explain to him that she sold the picture herself and that she’s out there being independent, making Max proud. Days pass and Penelope manages to stay undiscovered thanks to the scarf, and while having her first tap beer, she befriends a delivery girl called Annie at the pub. The two of them hit it off and Annie begins taking Penelope with her during her deliveries so they can explore the city together.
Meanwhile, inspired by Penelope’s bravery, Max goes to the place he used to play at with his band, apologizes to his old boss for the errors of his past, and asks for a second chance. The man does give him one, but not at the piano: to prove he’s trustworthy again, Max must begin by cleaning the floors. Months pass and Penelope continues to hang out with Annie while sending her parents postcards of all her adventures. By following the addresses on these postcards, they finally manage to find Penelope, who runs away when she sees them.
Penelope goes to see Annie for help, but running with the scarf on her face makes it hard to breathe and she passes out when she enters the pub, and the last thing she sees is Annie taking off her scarf. Later, Penelope wakes up in the hospital and notices reporters everywhere, getting surprised not to see them run away. Jessica tries to protect her from them, but since it’s too late and everyone knows now, Penelope tells them hi and allows her picture to be taken before leaving with Annie to have some fun without wearing her scarf anymore. The world loves Penelope, and she appears often on the news as a minor celebrity.
Now she has friends and hangs out in bars like a normal young woman. When the reporters approach Edward to get his opinion, he tells them Penelope’s a monster and she belongs in a cage. His father gets furious at him for it, since this could turn people against their company, so he orders Edward to fix it immediately. One evening, Penelope is at the pub and is shocked to find Max, who congratulates her and tries to tell her what an inspiration she was to him.
Penelope still feels hurt by him so she doesn’t want to hear him out and leaves for home, where a bigger surprise is waiting for her: Edward is here to propose. Skeptical of his intentions, Penelope doesn’t want to accept, especially because she has friends now. But Jessica reminds her that they aren’t friends, they’re fans that find a talking pig fun, and this is her only chance at a normal life. So Penelope accepts.
Their engagement appears in the newspaper, and Lemon is disappointed to see it. The bigger news comes from Larry though, who tells him to write an article about Max being arrested for robbery. Lemon has trouble believing this so he goes to see Max in prison only to find a different man there. It turns out this is the real Max and Lemon had picked up the wrong guy at the gambling parlor – fake Max lied so he could get the money.
In the meantime, Penelope’s family and Edward go to the theatre, and fake Max -whose real name is Johny- approaches them there, trying to warn Penelope about Edward’s true colors. Edward drags Johny to the bathroom and convinces him to give up by reminding him that he is the only one willing to marry Penelope, so Johny shouldn’t get in the way of her happiness. Later, Lemon goes to see Johny to tell him he knows the truth and asks him why he won’t marry Penelope. Johny explains he wants to, but he isn’t blue blood so he can’t help her break the curse.
When the day of the wedding comes, Lemon takes the research file he did on Johny and takes it to Jessica to explain why he wouldn’t propose. Jessica is touched but she still won’t tell her daughter the truth because she also thinks Johny can’t break the curse.
Afterward, the ceremony starts, but Penelope can’t go through it, so she runs back into the house while having to hear Jessica beg her to come out so she can become a whole new her. Penelope yells back, exclaiming that she already likes who she is right before passing out. When she wakes up, she’s surprised to find her face has become normal, because the person of “her own kind” that had to claim her was herself. Her transformation appears on the news and now the reporters don’t follow her around anymore.
Jessica apologizes for having been a bad mother and not seeing the truth years ago, so now the family can start healing. Since he isn’t needed anymore, Jake quits, but when he’s leaving, he puts a silence spell on Jessica, because Jake has been the witch in disguise all along. When she turns twenty-five, Penelope also leaves home to begin working as a teacher. She also sends Edward the ring back with a letter, wishing him the best.
When her first Halloween at school came, Penelope has to deal with a bunch of girls dressing up as her. But the real shock that day comes when Wanda gets tired of keeping the secret and sends Johny’s file to her. Deciding to do something about it, Penelope gets a pig costume, and together with Annie, they sneak into the Halloween party being held at Johny’s building. Annie pretends that Penelope needs the bathroom so he’ll let her into his apartment, then leaves them alone so they can talk.
After some chitchat, Johny comments on her pig mask and how much the original Penelope meant to him. Penelope wants to ask more but suddenly notices his piano and calls him out for it, so now that he has confirmed this is truly her, Johny kisses her. The two of them get together and months later, they tell their story to Penelope’s class. Only one of the kids accurately gets the lesson behind it: it’s not the power of the curse, it’s the power you give the curse.
Lemon passes by and sees them happy together, so he decides not to take a picture for the news.