Forget 'Game of Thrones,' 'Penelope' is Peter Dinklage’s Greatest Achievement
I am not here to s*it on Game of Thrones. Frankly, it s*it on itself well enough with that turkey of a final season, whose blatant sexism and treatment of Missandei in particular I hope haunts Benioff and Wise to their final days.
No, that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here because I feel like Peter Dinklage is going to be defined by his role in Game of Thrones, which he won his final (out of four) Emmys for last week, and that simply cannot stand. Sure, he was fine as Tyrion, but he was absolutely outstanding in Penelope and it’s time this movie gets its due.
Released in 2006, Penelope is the story about a rich woman with a pig nose played by Christina Ricci, who is “cursed” to have said nose until “one of her own kind” learns to love her. Interpreting that to mean marry a rich dude, her parents try their best to get to curse lifting. Where does Peter Dinklage fit in? He’s a smarmy paparazzi guy who loses his eye when he tried to sneak a pic of baby Penelope and her mother (Catherina O’Hara) deals with him thusly. His name is Lemon, and it is his life’s mission to get a photo of the very reclusive Penelope because she has a pig nose, and also, he’s pretty good at holding a grudge even if it’s basically his fault he lost his eye in the first place.
Shenanigans obviously ensue that ultimately bring in James McAvoy (in his best role ever) and Reese Witherspoon (in her second-best role ever because we must never forget Cruel Intentions.) Really, this is a gentle, charming, sweet movie that deserves more attention and love than it gets, even if you see the ending coming a mile off. It also has a stellar soundtrack. Including this song, which is one of my favorites:
Anyway, back to the point. Dinklage always excels when he’s playing smarmy, morally grey characters. That’s probably why he’s won so many awards for Game of Thrones but it doesn’t explain why Penelope gets no love, because Lemon is basically Tyrion, but without all the whorin’ and killin’. Also, Lemon is a better name than Tyrion, that’s just science.
I’m not here to make you choose between Game of Thrones and Tyrion, and Penelope and Lemon because I’ve already chosen for you: Penelope and Lemon are the superior answers and thus we’re going with that. It’s also the case for whatever property you’d like to compare James McAvoy roles with, but there is some wiggle room for Catherina O’Hara, Christina Ricci, and Reese Witherspoon because they’ve been in Waiting for Guffman, Mermaids, and again, Cruel Intentions, respectively—but it is a close call between deciding favorites between that pool and Penelope.
Anyway, if you’re suspecting I just created a reason to talk about Penelope today, you’re absolutely right. Now let me share one of my favorite scenes, and I hope you enjoy your night, friend.
Header Image Source: YouTube/Summit