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Paddington - Film Review

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by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published December 8th 2014
A story book film for all ages
Paddington bear is an institution in children's literature, with the series of books that began in 1958, written by Michael Bond. They depict the delightfully funny, episodic adventures of Paddington bear. A homeless bear who arrives in London and finds a family to adopt him. There is a echo of the orphan Oliver from Charles Dickens in this storybook film.

Paddington opens on December 11th
Paddington opens on December 11th

Many devotees would have held their breath, expecting the film to not live up to expectations. The film defies all these anxieties and comes up trumps, with a beautifully filmed story to capture the imagination of all ages.

The film brings a lot more background to the origins of Paddington's journey from Peru and his love of marmalade. Here we see him growing up with his uncle and aunty who are inspired by a chance encounter with an English explorer.

Disaster occurs in Peru in the form of an earthquake, which sends Paddington in search of a better life in London. There is some sadness in this plotline that younger viewers may find difficult. Paddington becomes a stowaway in a lifeboat on a huge container ship. Here we see his marmalade addiction help Paddington survive the long journey. It is a story of such whimsy and eccentricity that provides such an enriching and comic experience.

Paddington opens on December 11th
Paddington opens on December 11th

Paddington is such a curious, clumsy and orphaned bear that the viewer is carried away by his plight. We next find Paddington on a station, lonely and rejected. Where he stands all day with his suitcase, and into the night before the Brown family appear. Who find him with a label tied around his neck which reads "Please look after this bear. Thank you."

Initially Paddington is again rejected, but is allowed to stay with the family on condition that he is reported to the authorities the next day. The story then diverges as Paddington searches for the explorer from darkest Peru, while being pursued by an evil taxidermist.

Paddington opens on December 11th
Paddington opens on December 11th

The film employs a lot of charming picture book settings that are rich in detail. The home of the Brown family is full of changing frescos and a doll's house that opens up before us. It is a sequence that allows the viewer to imagine exploring the inside of your own story book, miniature doll's house. Plus sets the scene of the family. The art direction is outstanding and deserves wide recognition. Other sequences that shine include the making of marmalade in the jungle of Peru.

Paddington at Paddington station
Paddington at Paddington station

A favourite scene from this delightfully British film is the visit to an antique shop for elevenses. Tea is served from a little spout in a steam train, and sugar served from one of the open carriages. Just one of the charmingly English touches that make this film so beautifully romantic to watch. A homage to an England that those from afar covet. It is a film for all ages, however the under twos may be a bit too young.


The film is superbly cast and filmed. Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey is the befuddled father (with shades of the father in Mary Poppins). Sally Hawkins the sweet and homely mother. Julie Waters the scattered housekeeper. Peter Capaldi of Dr Who fame is the creepy neighbour who has some great lines and scenes, particularly one involving a bunch of flowers. There are glorious cameos by Matt Lucas and Jim Broadbent. Nicole Kidman revels in being a baddie.

Hugh Bonneville arriving at the London premier
Hugh Bonneville arriving at the London premiere

The animation of the character of Paddington is flawless. Not being a fan of animation this was another great relief. The effects here are first class. Paddington has character, adventures, fun and loads of magical enchantment.

Could we see more of Paddington? One hopes his adventures will live on into another film.

The Brown family adopts Paddington into their hearts and so will you.

The Brown family adopts Paddington into their hearts and so will you.
The Brown family adopts Paddington into their hearts and so will you.
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*Jenny Esots was invited as a guest
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Why? A very fine family film
When: December 11th onwards
Where: Cinemas everywhere
Your Comment
My favourite scene is also at the antique shop/police chase. Like you, I also like the artistic storytelling methods with the train and the dollhouse.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12479) 1798 days ago
Glad to hear the film is so delightful. Look forward to seeing it.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4104) 1798 days ago
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