A quick aside from children's lit -
I went to see Penelope (Stone Village Pictures 2008, starring Christina Ricci, rated PG) this weekend with four 12 and 13 year old girls. I don't think it received stellar ratings, but we absolutely loved it!
Penelope (Christina Ricci) is born to a wealthy, London, blue-blood family. She bears the features of a pig, in fulfillment of a curse issued generations earlier. The curse may only be broken when she is "accepted by one of her own."
In this modern day fairy tale, Penelope's mother secrets her away in the family castle and tries, without luck, to find a suitor among London's wealthy elite class. The movie is funny and touching as Penelope finds and loses true love and strikes out on a path of her own. The movie is at times hilarious, at times touching, at times uplifting. The end is a surprising twist that reaffirms the power and beauty of individuality and self-confidence.
Interestingly, after the movie, we tried to place the time frame for the movie. A reporter types on a 1920s style typewriter, Penelope's clothes could be suited to an earlier era, the street fair evokes the 19th century, the telephones date from the 1960s, the London skyline looks to be a mixture of the past and the future - yet somehow, it all works. My daughter surmised that each character sees the world as she wants to. I think she hit the nail on the head. Penelope shows us that our reality is colored by our perception and challenges us to see beyond.