Many years ago, in darkest Peru, an intrepid English explorer Montgomery Clyde (Downie) promised Paddington Bear’s Aunt and Uncle (Gambon and Staunton) that if they ever came to London, England, they would be received very warmly indeed. Afterall, the British are renowned for their good manners.
Clyde eventually departed Peru but left behind some romantic images of London, it’s people and it’s cuisine….. well marmalade to be exact.
Some years later, it was necessary for the young Paddington to be sent to London so armed with a suitcase full of marmalade and a tag around his neck asking to be looked after (as his Aunt had seen in the old newsreels during WWII), the little bear was off to this strange new land.
While waiting patiently at Paddington Station for a family to take him home, Paddington meets the Browns. Mr Brown (Bonneville) is unhappy when Mrs Brown (Hawkins) stops to talk to the bear. He cautions his children Judy (Harris) and Jonathan (Joslin) not to go near him, scared they will be mugged or something equally as horrible.
But Mrs Brown will have none of it and takes the little bear home. Mr Brown huffs and puffs, Judy is mortified to have an exotic stranger in her home while Jonathan is thrilled by the exciting newcomer. Once home, the gruff old Scottish housekeeper Mrs Bird (Walters) won’t turn the bear away but does comment that he does not really belong.
Paddington then proceeds to get up to all kinds of mischief, winning the hearts of everyone along the way while dodging the baddie of the piece Millicent (Kidman). Kidman is just sinister enough without being too scary.
I grew up with hand me down Paddington books and remember watching it on TV so was hoping this movie would remain faithful to his story, with no whizz bang, CGI laden tech updates for ‘the new generation’. My faith was well placed.
This movie is a delight from the opening scenes, taken from old black and white archive footage of Clyde’s adventures with bears in Peru, to the very last moment. It is true to the tale, it is true to the genre, it is true to the underlying moral of the story. It is very English, very proper and it is just wonderful. Paddington gets into silly mischief that had the children squealing with laughter.
And the movie’s underlying moral is even more relevant today than ever….. to be accepting of those different from ourselves because we all just want to belong.
This is a wonderful family movie for everyone. So grab your old Paddington bear and take him to the movies!
4 and 1/2 stars out of 5
Love Flick xx
Director : Paul King
Starring : Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Ben Wishaw, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Tim Downie
Running Time : 95 minutes
Release Date : 18 December 2014