Movie Review: “Paddington” – A Fun Family Tale

Written by Caitlin Cooper January 18, 2015

Paddington

Sometimes we all need to watch a lighter film, one about family and love, something silly and cute. Enter this month’s family film, “Paddington”, directed by Paul King, about a Peruvian bear with an English accent. With Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, and “Harry Potter” alum Julie Walters, the film hits all the right notes that a family comedy should.

“Paddington” tells the tale of a young bear whose home in Peru is destroyed and Uncle is killed in an earthquake. 40 years before, the bears had been visited by an explorer who taught them how to be English, including eating marmalade sandwiches. His Aunt encourages him to look for a home in the one place the family has always intended to go: London, England. The Brown family spots him at the train station and offers their home to him for the night, but they end up helping him look for the explorer who taught them so much. While he searches for the explorer, someone else searches for him so she can add him to her taxidermy collection.

“I’m just looking for a home.”

The screenplay brings audiences a rather odd story, in that no character seems to question a talking bear roaming the streets of London alongside human friends whilst wearing a hat and carrying a suitcase. But if you’re willing to suspend disbelief, “Paddington” is a delight. There are three plots in play, one being Paddington’s search for a home – which he hopes to find with the explorer -, the way he builds relationships with and helps the Brown family, and the taxidermy collector’s plan to kidnap Paddington. While the sweeter moments between the family members can be a little cheesy, it’s all in good fun and is a minor bump in the story. While the plot is rather light at times, when it gets picked up again it flows nicely.

Paddington

A unique aspect of “Paddington” is due to the original storytelling techniques thanks to director Paul King. When introducing each member of the family, we see a dollhouse-like scale of the house they live in, and each room is zoomed in on to describe the character’s personality. While family films with that are largely live action, it’s rare to see this much experimentation. Paddington imagining he is back in Peru before it was destroyed is yet another unique sequence that captured my attention.

“I think every home should have a Marmalade Day. And a bear.”

The cast of “Paddington” includes some pretty big names which means the acting is superb. Whishaw is the voice of the fun-loving yet accident-prone bear. He manages to play to the quirks of Paddington well. Bonneville is good at playing a serious character (as evidenced by his role on “Downton Abbey”), but in this film we also get to see a much lighter side of him as Mr. Brown; he’s good at playing the father-figure. Sally Hawking plays Mrs. Brown and adds a sweetness to the film as well as acting as the moral compass for Mr. Brown. Walters’ character is largely there for laughs, and she definitely elicits them. Peter Capaldi (“Doctor Who”) plays the family’s neighbour who is a bit of an oddball but helps them find Paddington. I will say, though, that Matt Lucas’ (“Bridesmaids”) small part is too over-the-top.

paddington

“Paddington” is the kind of story that has a message about love and family while also delivering plenty of jokes to keep the film fairly light. It can be a bit cheesy at times, and sometimes focuses more on comedy than plot. But the film is heartwarming, fun, and sweet with a good cast and unique storytelling techniques. “Paddington” is a fun tale of family that is sure to brighten your day.

My Rating: 7/10

paddington

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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