The TV commercials for the new Paddington movie do not do the movie any justice. The images of the little bear riding a bathtub down the stairs and the bewildered Mr. Brown look like the film Beethoven that replaces a bear for a St. Bernard. It’s not. In fact, most of the scenes in the TV trailer take place in the first few minutes of the film and there is so much more to see.
|Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins), Paddington and|
Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent).
What director Paul King does with the story is pretty magical. Yes, there is some slapstick that the kids will love, but those scenes are a lot more elaborate than someone slipping on a banana peel. Each is caused by a real mishap in the story – not something that was just tacked on to be cute. What makes this film shine, above and beyond many other children’s fair, is that it is well rounded for all audiences. There is plenty of dry humor for adults too. In addition, King chooses some truly unique ways to move the story along that gives the film its charming tone. There is no bathroom humor – except for the funny scenes that actually takes place in the bathroom!
|Paddington and Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville)|
The movie has strong messages about family, marriage and taking care of people – or bears – less fortunate than you. In this case, the Brown family unit is broken. Not terribly broken – they are similar to many of our own families – but still broken. Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville) is a worrywart who is constantly spewing random and off-based statistics of injuries that can happen to a person doing the most menial things. His son, Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) wants adventure in his life so bad, but it’s never going to happen while dad is around. Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins) is a children’s book writer and illustrator. She is very “artsy” which annoys her daughter, Judy (Madeleine Harris). Living with the family is Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) who might be a grandmother, but it isn’t clear.