Every now and then, you go to the movies expecting very little from a movie. You go because you’re being dragged by a friend or because it’s cheap and you have nothing better planned that day. And most of the time you leave saying “Yeah, that was alright I guess…”. But sometimes, you leave with a smile, telling everyone you know that “Actually, it’s a lot better than I thought it would be!”
Paddington is definitely in the last category. I went not expecting much, thinking all the good bits had probably been in the trailer and there would be little to no plot. I left happy, with a spring in my step and desperately wanting Paddington to live in my street too.
The plot is simple: Many years ago an explorer goes to “Darkest Peru” and finds two intelligent bears whom he teaches to speak English and many more things. Fast forward and Paddington (Ben Wishaw) (who has an unpronounceable bear name at this point) lives in a tree house (which looks like a Beehive) with his aunt and uncle. Unfortunately, an earthquake kills his uncle and destroys the house. His aunt, desperate to find him a good home, sends him to London.
Arriving at Paddington station, the young bear is incredibly polite in his search to find a home, yet no one is willing to take notice, let alone take him in. Only Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins) takes pity on him and tries to help. Her husband (Hugh Bonneville) refuses to let the bear go home with them, but ends up railroaded by his wife and son.
The dysfunctional Browns will open their house and life to Paddington, while helping him to find the explorer who invited his aunt and uncle to London so long ago. He, on the other hand will help them find each other. Throw in a Cruella-like villain, taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) and a few sidekicks (Peter Capaldi and Julie Walters) and you’ve got yourself a winner.
The movie will bring Paddington alive for all the fans of the original books by Michael Bond. It’s a great family movie, and the fun doesn’t just end as the (by now imaginative) curtain drops. Big Paddington bears designed by celebrities are dotted around London and available to see until the end of the month. If you fancy locating them all, find a map here.
As Paddington said in the movie, “I like it!”
Pictures from: Camilla Schroeder, google.com