It’s just a pig nose
July 21, 2008
My Netflix selection of the week was Penelope, another fairy tale. Overall I think it was a good movie. The progam makes suggestions as to what movies you’ll like based on what other people with similar taste think. They guessed a 4.6 star rating for me, which I think is the highest rating that has ever shown. It makes sense because I love movies like Ella Enchanted, Ever After, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and Stardust. And I think that Pushing Daisies is my second favorite fiction series (I have a thing for reality TV and How I Met Your Mother.)
Here’s the premise. Penelope has a pig’s nose (and ears too but we never see them) because she is the first born daughter of a family which is cursed. In order to break the curse she must find someone to marry. Her parents keep her hidden away so that she doesn’t face ridicule and bring in suitors to get to know her while she is behind a one way mirror. When she is rejected one too many times she leaves home to claim her own life and learn to love herself.
Here’s my problem. It’s just a pig nose. A cute little pig nose that’s attached to the rest of Christina Ricci’s beautiful face, hair, and body. Now I think it is clear that all the other characters’ reaction to Penelope is exaggerated for effect (one of her dates even throws himself out of the second story window ala the Cowardly Lion when he sees her.) We are supposed to think “gee isn’t it great how she can overcome all the negative reaction to her deformity in order to become a self actualized person. Maybe I can do that too.” The problem is that to any realistic person her deformity is not repulsive and may actually be charming. What would they have done to her if something about her really was disturbing? Penelope’s message may help girls get over their gap teeth, or freckles, or big forehead, but what about people who face serious issues… real deformity. I don’t think we need a feel good film for that first group. Maybe if they spent some time with someone who is in a wheel chair or has had a stroke or any other number of real problems, they’d gain some perspective and celebrate the pig nose like the rest of us.
You know I’m such a ham, yeah, yeah, yeah I am.