Paddington (2014)

Directed by Paul King; Written by Paul King and Hamish McColl

Not your average “bear moves across the world and finds happiness”-story 

Full of warmth, humour, heart and progressive politics, Paddington is hard to resist. And why would you? There’s fun to be had and Paul King’s semi-live-action revamp of the classic kid’s character is a delight for children and cynical souls alike. 

Sixty years ago, Michael Bond published his first story on Paddington the Bear and his adventures in London. Now, Paddington arrives in England for the first time again, and the world’s a much different place. The hustle and bustle has replaced “How do you do?” and tunnel-visioned stares greet strangers instead of the tip of a hat. 

But sometimes all it takes is the open heart of a stranger, and the film blossoms from the moment Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins, a beacon of kindness) looks up and notices a fellow person living on the fringes. Paddington is given a chance, and from there the film delivers a steady stream of big laughs, spectacle and action. 

Yet Paddington has more to its name than just comedic punchlines, wild action pieces, and punny exchanges. Wonderful as these things are, it’s even more satisfying to witness essential human virtues be extolled, like kindness, and the willingness to see past what’s immediately apparent. Never didactic, Paddington has a kind eye for all those who stand to be misjudged, be it Paddington for the fact he’s a bear with brown fur, or Mr. Brown, who’s thought by his kids to a bit of a nervous nelly. It’s high-concept cinema at a fuzzy 3’6” and credit is due to writers King and McColl for bringing Paddington into the 21st century with easy grace and compassion. 

A film about the surprises we all are capable of, Paddington is sure to entertain, and carries the potential to give you one of the more satisfying cinematic experiences – a film to make you smile, and hopefully have a little more patience with the world and the people in it. 

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