Penelope is a charming but fluffy little fable about a girl born under the shadow of a family curse. Penelope's wealthy ancestor five generations back got on the bad side of a witch, and the witch smacked back with a curse that the next female child born to the family would have the face of a pig -- a curse that can be broken only when someone from her own class learns to love her for who she is. Unfortunately for Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci), the next female Wilhern child was her.
Rather than face the scrutiny of the public and media, Penelope's very rich parents fake their newborn daughter's death and retreat to live in a mansion in isolation. And thus, Penelope is raised in her gilded cage, given every imaginable advantage -- except freedom. She is a prisoner in her own home, not even allowed outside to play. Once Penelope is old enough, her parents hire a matchmaker and put a sizable dowry on their daughter in order to find her a blue-blooded suitor who will look past her snout and marry her. Trouble is, once they get a look at Penelope, the candidates head for the hills -- or out the nearest window.