As anyone who’s familiar with this classic tale would suspect, the movie “Paddington” takes us from the deep jungles of darkest Peru to the streets of London, and is absolutely charming the whole way.
For those unfamiliar, here’s a brief overview of the story of Paddington (the film version, which blessedly doesn’t stray far from the original tale). Paddington (Ben Whishaw), an orphan bear from the deep jungles of darkest Peru is looking for a home when the Brown family finds him, where else, but at Paddington Station.
The Browns—Mary (Sally Hawkins), Henry (Hugh Bonneville), and their two children, Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Jonathan (Samuel Joslin)—are a colorful crew. Mary’s an illustrator, Henry’s a risk assessor, Judy’s a teenager, and Jonathan is a smart but confined kid. Then there’s Mrs. Bird (Julie Waters), their live-in maid/grandmother figure, who just takes everything to a glorious and ridiculous level. Their stories as well as the rest of this tale are laid out before us with all of the visual wonder of the original tales. It’s beautiful, clever, and just delightful.
The Brown’s agree to help Paddington find the explorer, who many years ago befriended his aunt and uncle, and who Paddington hopes might give him a home.
Of course, we have to have a villain, and although the inclusion of the books’ crabby neighbor Mr. Curry (Peter Capaldi) is appreciated, he just isn’t quite enough of a nemesis for the big screen—enter Nicole Kidman as Millicent, the National History Museum’s taxidermist who would like nothing more than to stuff the talking bear. There’s just the right amount of depth and actual motivation behind this sinister deed, and it suits the story.
It may be a “kids movie” (I hate that term), but there is absolutely nothing childish about this film, and that’s an impressive feat when your tale is built around a talking bear. The unspoken acceptance of the fact that Paddington can talk provides plenty of humor, but it’s smart, just like the rest of this wonderful, wonderful story. It’s the perfect, kid-friendly (isn’t that a better term) movie to warm your heart this winter.
Posted on March 6, 2015, in Film and tagged Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Imelda Staunton, Julie Waters, Madeleine Harris, Michael Gambon, movies, Nicole Kidman, Paddington, Sally Hawkins, Samuel Joslin. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.